Ed Driscoll


“A HOUSE OF HORRORS” is how John Facenda once described Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium in an early 1980s NFL films highlight reel, and it’s only gotten worse. Sunday will be the last time it’s used in regular season.

ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio writes:

The horrid turf, the rats running through the team’s weight room, the dank, cramped locker room, the drunken brawls in the stands, the seats with obstructed views, the bathrooms that were simply bad news — whatever you want to say about Veterans Stadium, it aroused vile passions almost from the day it opened — Aug. 16, 1971, when the Eagles played the first pre-season game there.

From the beginning, the Vet was viewed as an unflattering “cookie-cutter” stadium, a multi-purpose concrete bowl, devoid of any kind of architectural charm. The early 70’s were a time when the municipal policies of fiscal restraint and urban renewal often resulted in a compromise which served neither purpose. And that’s what happened here — and in Cincinnati with Riverfront Stadium and Pittsburgh with Three Rivers, the sister stadiums to the Vet.

But unlike Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, where the stadiums graced downtown river vistas, Veterans Stadium was exiled to a neighborhood of warehouses and abandoned lots and had all the charm of a forgotten concrete outpost far from the historic center of Philadelphia.

Having been to numerous Phillies and Eagles games there (not to mention two Pink Floyd concerts in 1987), I can attest to all of that. Its concrete architecture might have been Le Corbusier’s wet dream, but its concrete turf and awful fan (read: customer) accommodations will not be missed.