If MetLife Stadium is the result of two teams working together to build a stadium, the practice should be banned posthaste and forever until kingdom come.
The problem becomes apparent the minute one comes upon the stadium. The bulk of the stadium’s façade is gray steel louvers. They function to allow breezes into the concourses while protecting from wind and snow, and as far as that goes they do a great job. Unfortunately, it makes the whole place look like a parking garage. MetLife Stadium feels like it aspires to be an office building, which makes sense once you go inside.
Nearly everything inside is some shade of gray. There are four shades of gray for the seats. The columns are a sort of gunmetal gray. Walls are medium. Some of the color comes from mood lighting on some signage, which can be switched from green for the Jets to blue for the Giants from game to game. The rest of the color comes from corporate branding. MetLife has a huge plaza on the western sideline. Verizon, Pepsi, SAP, and Bud Light have their corners of the concourse. Banners are on rotating installations to allow for quick changeovers. Altogether, the place has all the charm of a brand new hospital: clinical, safe, boring, inoffensive.
Perhaps that’s the point. In order to make the Stadium appear to not favor one team over the other (as was obvious at Giants Stadium), MetLife Stadium was built essentially devoid of character. Sure, the place has the requisite suites (four levels), fancy clubs, and plenty of space under the bowl to host any number of event types. The technology inside is neat, and there’s even a mini concourse behind the 100 level for standing room admissions. Still, it’s impossible to get over the fact that MetLife Stadium is just one big soulless, brazen corporate exercise. In that sense, I suppose it’s perfect for the upcoming Super Bowl.
If the 49ers and Raiders had agreed to a co-constructed stadium in Santa Clara, it might’ve looked a little like this. I’d like to think that the two teams would do more to make the stadium truly dual-identity, instead of no identity in the Meadowlands. MetLife Stadium is living proof that technology is no substitute for vision. Cowboys Stadium is also brazenly corporate, but at least it places the Cowboys front and center. The Giants and Jets have to live with this pile of concrete indefinitely. Sucks for them.