FanPost

Stadium Debate: Myth and Facts

 

There is a new legislature, a collapsed Metrodome, and lots of questions about where the Vikings are headed, which has recently led to some speculation about whether a deal for a new stadium will pass or not. Amongst the speculation a theory has been floated many times: Your Team Needs a Winning Record to Get Legislation Passed Theory. I have seen this theory in the news, in blogs, and in the comments in blogs. I wanted to see if this theory had any merit, so I did some research.

Since 1992 there have been 23 NFL stadiums that have been built or renovated that have used publically funded money for part or all of the construction costs.

Atlanta Falcons                       Baltimore Ravens                   Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers                   Chicago Bears                         Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns                   Denver Broncos                      Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers                  Huston Texans                         Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots             Oakland Raiders                     Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburg Steelers                    St. Louis Rams                         San Diego Chargers

Seattle Seahawks                    Tampa Bay Buccaneers          Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins              Dallas Cowboys

 Since a comparison should be made to the situation here in Minnesota where the construction of an entirely new stadium is proposed, not renovated, I eliminated the renovated stadiums from my list (Buffalo, Chicago, Green Bay). Because the theory focuses on the win-loss record of a team, I took the previous three seasons before the tax funding bill was passed in the teams respective community or state. Next I took out the expansion teams and teams that moved to a new city (Baltimore, Jacksonville, Carolina, Cleveland, Huston, Tennessee, St. Louis) because a win-loss record has no bearing on this theory. Lastly I took out San Diego and Oakland because they share their stadiums with their city's MLB teams, and it is possible (although unlikely in my mind) that the win-loss record of the Padres or the A's may have swayed some votes.

Team

Staduim

Amount

Public $

Year Passed

Year Opened

Record -3

Record -2

Record -1

Atlanta Falcons

Georgia Dome

$214

$214

1989

1992

7 - 8

3 - 12

5 - 11

Washington Redskins

FedEx Field

$251

$71

1994

1997

14 - 2

9 - 7

4 - 12

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Raymond James Stadium

$190

$190

1996

1998

5 - 11

6 - 10

7 - 9

Cincinati Bengals

Paul Brown Stadium

$452

$452

1996

2000

3 -13

3 - 13

7 - 9

Denver Broncos

Invesco Field at Mile High

$360

$270

1998

2001

8 - 8

13 - 3

12 - 4

Pittsburgh Steelers

Heinz Field

$281

$177

1998

2001

11 - 5

10 - 6

11 - 5

Detroit Lions

Ford Field

$300

$95

1996

2002

10 - 6

9 - 7

10 - 6

New England Patriots

Gillette Stadium

$395

$70

1999

2002

9 - 7

11 - 5

10 - 6

Seattle Seahawks

Qwest Field

$430

$323

1997

2002

6 - 10

8 - 8

7 - 9

Philadelphia Eagles

Lincoln Financial Field

$520

$265

1999

2003

10 - 6

6-9 -1

3 - 13

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboy Stadium

1.15 Billion

$325

2004

2008

5 - 11

5 - 11

10 - 6

This chart has the remaining teams that have built new stadiums, with the oldest stadium opening in 1992 (Georgia Dome) and the newest in 2008 (The Jerry Jones shrine to Jerry Jones). I have listed the price tag of each venue with the public's tax contribution listed next to it. The year passed column refers to the year the tax legislation was passed in the respective city, county, or state. Lastly I have the win - loss record of the three seasons prior to the passing of the tax legislation. So if the legislation passed in 2004 the records reflect the 2001, 2002, and 2003 seasons. I chose the previous three seasons because, on average it takes three years for the tax legislation to be haggled over before it is passed, which according to theory would give the voters or legislators three years to form an opinion as to whether their team's record is "worthy" of a new stadium.

The theory of "Your Team Needs a Winning Record to Get Legislation Passed" I find here is not true. Of the eleven teams listed here only five had winning records prior to the year legislation was passed. There were also only four teams (Washington, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Detroit) that had winning records for all three years prior to passing legislation. There are no public opinion polls available to determine if voters or legislators really like their team enough to build them a new stadium, but I think their voting records speak for themselves. Legislation will pass even if teams don't consistently put up winning records.

My opinion here is "It's the economy, stupid". This is not to suggest that there is no hope for passing stadium legislation. When the owners of the Falcons were in the middle of their six year negotiations with the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia, there was the NFL lockout in 86 and "Black Monday" in 87, but they still found a way to get the legislation passed in 89. I also want to take a moment to remind you that the DN is a place for opinion of all things Vikings, not for your opinion on Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, Independents or any other political entity.

Other stuff I learned:

  • Since Ford Field has opened in 2002 the Lions have not had a winning season.
  • Pittsburgh voters were not happy with the plans for their stadium and felt that "The team will not be able to be competitive in attracting the best players" because the plans of the stadium were changed to save money. I don't think that theory proved to be true either.
  • $1.15 billion is a lot of money. Jerry Jones and other private investors funded over 60% of that bill.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a <em>community</em>, that view is no less important.

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