Is It Time For Colorado To Get An NFL Stadium With A Dome? Yes
After having a giant stadium in Denver, Colorado for about 75 years, is it finally time to quit pretending we don't want or need a stadium with a roof/dome? We think that the time has come.
Does Colorado Need An NFL Football Stadium With A Roof?
Before the current Empower Field at Mile High, was the original Mile High Stadium which sat directly where the parking on the north side of Empower Field is. Built back in 1948, it's always been an open-air nightmare for fans. The stadium was originally built for the old Denver Bears baseball team, however, once the Denver Broncos debuted in 1960, Mile High was most famously known as the "Home of the Broncos." For over 60 years the Broncos have battled the elements and played through some of the craziest football weather imaginable. Most die-hards will tell you that the cold winter weather is part of our home-field advantage, but is it truly a benefit to the players (or the fans) these days to be freezing the entire game?
Let's be honest, the current players of the NFL are nowhere near as "hard" as the Broncos or football players in general of old. That's not necessarily their fault though as the league and the sport have evolved so much, that the things that made the old-school players extra tough aren't things that this current generation has to deal with to an extent. One of those things that have seemingly changed as far as having an advantage goes, is playing in all-weather circumstances. There are only 12 "cold weather cities" in the NFL that currently play without domes, Denver is one of them. But why?
Why Doesn't Denver Have A Domed Stadium?
Here's the biggest downfall to not having an open-air stadium -- the turf. Unless you create a system as they have in Arizona, where the field literally rolls itself outside to get sun and water prior to game day, or build a retractable roof, you're stuck with turf. Most players, including former Broncos star, Von Miller, are very outspoken about how turf is bad for the health of the players. Season-ending turf-related injuries are far more common than you'd think. The second biggest concern is the cost to build the dome, plus what it would take energy-wise to properly heat and cool the space. Do the advantages of a dome outweigh those two major concerns though?
Imagine being able to go to a Broncos game in a snowstorm and actually be able to enjoy it because your feet aren't freezing from the cold and wet metal stands. I've sat at some unbearably cold Broncos games in my life. You're so cold, you can't really even enjoy the game. Of course, we all have different experiences and opinions but if it were up to me, I'm dome Empower Field in a heartbeat. Why?
Why Should Denver Have A Domed Stadium?
First and foremost, the fan experience would drastically improve. Sitting at a freezing Broncos game is miserable. Nobody can truly say they enjoy freezing at a football game. Stop lying to yourself. Second, the number of events we'd get to host here solely because we would have a controlled weather environment would be huge. Super Bowls, WrestleMania, College Bowl games, championship tournaments, Soccer World Cups, concerts (outside of summer), the list goes on and on. From September through May, the only events Mile High really hosts are Broncos games. Why? Because Colorado weather is too unpredictable. With a dome, that all changes.
We can stay old school and pretend that the Broncos play better in the cold weather, but that's just not the case anymore. As I write this, we don't even play well in warm weather. Might as well cover that sucker up and get some more use of that beautiful stadium we have. This begs the next question... Is it worth updating the current stadium with either a permanent or retractable dome? Or is it our best bet to completely start over and build us a state-of-the-art facility like Kroenke has with SoFi Stadium in LA? That to me is the new standard in NFL Stadiums. It's truly amazing if you've never been. Having something like that in the city of Denver would be a game-changer, even outside of just Broncos football.
What if Ram's owner Stan Kroenke's brother-in-law, Broncos Owner Rob Walton, wants to build an even better stadium than LA? I saw, let the man do his thing! If you enjoy being cold at the games, sit in a freezer in your undies before you leave on game day, then walk to the game without a coat. That should get you through the games with a nice chill still. Meanwhile, I'll be enjoying the game while comfortably wearing just a hoodie or my favorite Broncos jersey in December. A guy can dream, can't he? Go Broncos.