Are you an NFL fan looking for advice on where to buy a new home? Then look no further! The Zing blog has you covered with our list of the top five cities for NFL fans to live.
The Zing blog’s list takes into foremost consideration the quality of an NFL team’s stadium atmosphere and fan experience – which almost always has to do with the home team’s on-field performance. For each city, we also factored in winter climate, stadium accessibility and housing prices for a feel of what to expect on gameday, and whether living an NFL fan’s dream is an affordable reality for each city. Finally, our exclusive list considered city life and available sports outside of the NFL, with a slightly lesser emphasis placed on these final two criteria.
After thorough research, grueling hours of number crunching and comparisons, and even more research, here are our five best cities for NFL fans to live:
Dallas would be an easier choice for #1 if the hometown Cowboys’ stadium was closer to the city. Instead, Dallas residents have to drive nearly 20 miles to neighboring Arlington to see “America’s Team” take the field on Sundays.
The distance from Dallas to AT&T Stadium is the one of the few negatives to living in the city, though. The Cowboys’ franchise boasts the NFL’s best fans, according to one site, and the Cowboys also have the nation’s largest pro football stadium with a capacity expandable to 100,000 fans.
Though Dallas hasn’t been a consistent playoff contender over the past several seasons, the Cowboys are one of two NFL teams to play a home game every season on Thanksgiving. And last but certainly not least, NFL fans have the chance to see the well-known Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders in person!
Climate wise, it doesn’t get much better than Dallas. With average winter temperatures ranging from 47°F – 59°F, residents rarely have to worry about snow or freezing temperatures. Dallas summers are hot and humid, but also vibrant with an energetic mix of tourists and the city’s 1.2 million residents. With a reasonable median home price of $215,000, the Big D is our top city for NFL fans to live.
In Boston and the rest of New England, it’s all about the Patriots. And why not? Led by future Hall-of-Fame coach Bill Belichick and two time NFL MVP quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots have played in five Super Bowls since the 2002 season, winning in 2002, 2004 and 2005. New England is a perennial Super Bowl contender under Belichick, making both the franchise and the city extremely likeable for NFL fans.
The Patriots’ Gillette Stadium is located in Foxboro, about 30 miles outside of Boston. But unlike Dallas, the New England fan experience can be subject to weather, often at an extreme level. Average winter temperatures range from 27°F – 37°F in the Boston and Foxboro areas, and usually result in a snow-blanketed field and seating area in at least one or two Patriots’ home games each season.
Fans in New England are ranked second only behind Dallas, and as long as Brady and Belichick are in town, fans can count on playoff home games in addition to the eight regular season games at Gillette Stadium every year.
Living in Boston has unique perks like access to one of America’s most historic major cities and a close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. But with an average house price of nearly $500,000, the cost of home ownership is among the highest in the country. If you’re an NFL fan with an affinity for cold weather and deep enough pockets to afford it, Boston is just the city for you. Otherwise, America’s oldest metropolitan city might just be worth a weekend visit.
A franchise defined by staunch defense and “Terrible Towels,” the Pittsburgh Steelers are the most successful NFL team in history with six Super Bowl titles. Their dedicated fans, known especially for travelling in large numbers to away games, pack Heinz Field to its 65,050 capacity for home games, too, creating one of the most intimidating atmospheres in the entire NFL.
Like most teams mentioned on our list, Pittsburgh is an annual playoff contender, having made the playoffs in seven of the last 10 seasons. Their 27-23 victory over Arizona in Super Bowl XLII in 2008 remains the highlight of head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s tenure in Steel City, and both figure to be in town for another several seasons.
Houses in Pittsburgh sold for a median price of nearly $150,000 through the first half of 2013, with home prices ranging from $43,000 to $740,000 within a half mile of Heinz Field. The stadium is located in the heart of the city on the Ohio River, within a short travelling distance for most of the city’s 310,000 residents.
Though Pittsburgh is without an NBA team, the city boasts strong NHL and MLB teams, and offers a similar lifestyle to that of major metropolitan American cities, without an overly-metropolitan feel. NFL fans will need plenty of Steelers jackets and cold gear to live in Pittsburgh, as the average winter climate ranges from about 26°F – 39°F.
Green Bay, WI
From the franchise’s early Super Bowl Era dominance with Hall-of-Fame quarterback Bart Starr and legendary coach Vince Lombardi, to the current generation of coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers are a symbol of NFL greatness. The organization is one of five NFL teams to have won four Super Bowls or more, and the Packers have made the playoffs in eight of the last 10 seasons.
Green Bay’s home stadium, Lambeau Field, was constructed in 1957, and has hosted each of the franchise’s four Super Bowl winners during the regular season. A Mecca for NFL fans, Lambeau averaged 70,507 fans per game in 2012, and its fans rank among the NFL’s best. The stadium is located just three miles outside of the center of the city, within walking distance for some Green Bay residents, and a short car ride for most. Similar to New England and Pittsburgh, Green Bay’s winter climate can cause multiple snow games per season, with average winter temperatures ranging from 15°F – 31°F.
From a housing standpoint, living an NFL fans’ dream in Green Bay is an incredibly affordable reality. Houses on the streets surrounding Lambeau Field cost as little as $130,000 according to Zillow, and the Packers’ stadium is completely embedded in a residential neighborhood.
Besides the Packers, Green Bay offers a close proximity to Lake Michigan, and access to more rural and remote areas typical of the American Midwest. It lacks the amenities and non-NFL perks of major American sports towns, but it’s a one-of-a-kind, affordable city for diehard NFL fans.
San Francisco, CA
A franchise with a past, present and future, the San Francisco 49ers are one of the NFL’s most exciting teams to watch. Led by third year coach Jim Harbaugh and 25 year-old quarterback Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco fell just short of winning Super Bowl XLVII in February. The Niners’ home stadium, Candlestick Park, is one of the NFL’s largest and most historic stadiums, with a capacity of nearly 70,000. “The Stick” has also played host to five Super-Bowl winning teams through the 1980s and 1990s.
Across the bay lies an equally well-known organization, for better or for worse. The two-time Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders have struggled mightily on the field over the past decade, but boast some of the NFL’s most creative and outrageous fans. The culture at Oakland’s Coliseum makes it a one-of-a-kind experience, regardless of how the Raiders perform on the field.
It’s important to note, though, that the area will soon be facing major change. San Francisco is playing its final season in Candlestick Park, and will move south to a new stadium in Santa Clara for 2014, while Oakland’s future in the Coliseum is on the fence. Regardless of the teams’ relative locations, they’re two of the most well-known and traditionally respected franchises in the NFL, and a dream destination for any NFL fan looking for a double-dosage of Sunday football.
If two teams, multiple stadiums, and the idea of new facilities aren’t enough, San Francisco is known for having one of the most climate friendly cities in the United States. Average daily temperatures range from 50°F – 63°F through the entire year, and both extreme heat and frigid colds are a rarity.
The Bay Area itself contains a total of seven professional sports teams, including the Oakland Athletics, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks. When it’s all said and done, if you can afford the incredibly expensive housing in the area, NFL fans really can’t go wrong with San Francisco. It’d be the runaway favorite on our list if the median home price hadn’t just hit $1,000,000. Instead, despite all of its amenities for NFL fans, San Francisco barely makes the top 5.
Questions, comments, disputes? Any city we’re forgetting? Let us know in the comments below!