University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the Arizona Cardinals, is located on the west side of Glendale, Arizona, close to the Agua Fria Freeway. This stadium was completed over the span of nearly three and a half years, with construction beginning on April 12th, 2003. When it opened on August 1st, 2006, the venue earned rave reviews for its design, which was lauded as one of the 10 best sports stadiums in the world. The architecture of this stadium was created to appear like a rattlesnake, coiled in repose, and is considered one of the great landmarks of the region.
The cost to create this architectural marvel was $455 million, which is relatively inexpensive considering the trend towards billion-dollar stadiums that appear less impressive than the University of Phoenix Stadium. Most of the cost was funded by the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority while the owners paid $$142.2 million and the City of Glendale pitched in $9.5 million for the project.
Previously, the Cardinals played in Sun Devil Stadium, which frustrated ownership because they had to share the field with college football. As the oldest professional team in the United States, the Cardinals actually started out in Chicago in 1898 before moving to St. Louis in 1960. The team landed in Phoenix in 1988 and eventually changed their name to the Arizona Cardinals shortly afterwards.
Arizona Cardinals Stadium
University of Phoenix Stadium is known for its superb playing field, which is made of Tifway 419 Hybrid Bermuda Grass. A large part of the reason that the field has been considered the best in the NFL for nearly a decade is because it’s the first retractable grass surface in the United States, which allows for other events to take place without causing damage to the turf. The past two NFLPA surveys, taken in 2010 and 2008, have listed the University of Phoenix Field as the best in the league.
Another feature that ensures field quality is the retractable roof, which is the first ever to be built on an incline, which helped to achieve the “coiled rattlesnake” visual effect.
The Cardinals have done well at home over the past five years, earning a 27-13 mark for a .675 winning percentage. They did particularly well at home during the 2014 season, with their only home loss taking place at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.
Date Opened: August 1st, 2006
Construction Cost: $455 million
Architect: Eisenman Architects; Populous
Capacity Attendance: 78,600
Playing Surface: Tifway 419 Hybrid Bermuda Grass
Previous Arizona Cardinals Stadiums
Normal Park; Comiskey Park; Wrigley Field; Soldier Field; Metropolitan Stadium; Busch Stadium; Busch Memorial Stadium; Sun Devil Stadium
Other Major Events
Super Bowl XLIX & XLII
The NFL has already awarded the Super Bowl to this venue twice, no doubt due to the quality of both the player and fan experience at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Both Super Bowls were dramatic affairs that involved the New England Patriots. Super Bowl XLIX saw a last minute interception at the goal line derail the Seahawks comeback against the Patriots, considered one of the least clutch play calls by a coach in Super Bowl history. Super Bowl XLII witnessed the biggest Super Bowl upset ever, as the Giants gutted out a tough 17-14 victory against the Patriots, who were 12-point favorites to complete the first perfect season since the 1972 Dolphins.