The 5 Heaviest Structural Steel Stadiums this NFL Season Kickoff

September 7, 2023
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Today we celebrate another NFL Season Kickoff with a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions. It's a perfect time to remember that the stadiums that house these epic battles are not just architectural marvels; they are feats of engineering as well. One key component that contributes to their strength and durability is the use of structural steel. From massive steel joists and girders to towering stands, steel plays a pivotal role in the construction of NFL stadiums. In this article, we'll take a closer look at five NFL stadiums that boast some of the highest steel tonnages, making them true steel giants.

Some honorable mentions include the 5,600 ton steel roof of the Ford Field, where the Detroit Lions will play this season, which support most of the concrete components of the stadium. Other stadiums that didn't make it to the list are the Pittsburgh Steelers' Heinz Field and the Denver Broncos' Empower Field at Mile High, both with 12,000 tons of structural steel. And just behind the stadiums in this list is the AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, with 14,100 tons of steel.

1. Allegiant Stadium

Paradise, Nevada

Allegiant Stadium
© Jason O’Rear, stadium images Las Vegas Raiders

The Allegiant Stadium, home to the Las Vegas Raiders, is another recent addition to the NFL stadium lineup. It's known for its sleek black exterior and the retractable field, which rolls out into the sunlight. The stadium's structural steel accounts for over 28,000 tons, contributing to its impressive design.

2. Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Atlanta, Georgia

Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Photo by The Official Suite Website of Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to the Atlanta Falcons, features a remarkable retractable roof and a circular, eight-piece video board known as the "Halo." This impressive stadium is constructed with more than 27,000 tons of steel, making it one of the most steel-heavy stadiums in the NFL.

3. SoFi Stadium

Inglewood, California

SoFi Stadium
Photo by SoFi Stadium Official Website

SoFi Stadium, shared by the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, is a true architectural marvel. Its unique roof design features a massive canopy supported by an intricate network of steel beams. This stadium contains more than 20,000 tons of steel, making it one of the heaviest steel structures in the NFL.

4. U.S. Bank Stadium

Minneapolis, Minnesota

US Bank Stadium
Photo by Visit Saint Paul Official Convention and Visitors Bureau Website

The U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Minnesota Vikings play, is famous for its translucent roof made of a high-tech material called ETFE. Beneath this roof, the stadium is supported by approximately 17,400 tons of structural steel, giving it a strong and futuristic appearance.

5. Gillete Stadium

Foxborough, Massachusetts

Gillette Stadium - McNamara • Salvia
Photo by Mcamara Salvia Structural Engineers

Home to the New England Patriots, Gillete Stadium is a marvel of modern engineering.  The stadium features a distinctive lighthouse-shaped tower which is supported by an intricate steel truss system. This massive structure contains over 16,000 tons of steel, making it one of the heaviest steel constructions in any NFL stadium.

NFL stadiums are more than just venues for football games; they are showcases of engineering excellence. These five stadiums, with their massive steel tonnages, stand as testaments to the capabilities of modern construction techniques. As technology continues to advance, we can only expect to see even more innovative and impressive uses of steel in future NFL stadium designs, further enhancing the fan experience and the visual spectacle of America's favorite sport. So, tonight, during the season kickoff, try to see the role steel structures play at the buildings of each of our teams, and you will be surprise that steel is all around the game.

Thumbnail photo by: AP Photo/Tim Sharp

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September 7, 2023

The 5 Heaviest Structural Steel Stadiums this NFL Season Kickoff

In this article, we looked at five NFL stadiums that boast some of the highest steel tonnages, making them true steel giants.