Foxboro Stadium (or
Foxborough Stadium) was an outdoor sports venue
located in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Although the official spelling of the
town's name is "Foxborough", the shorter spelling was used for the
The stadium opened in August 1971
, primarily as the home venue for
the renamed New England
of the National
. The team was known as the Boston Patriots for its first eleven seasons
1960-70, and had played in various stadia in the
Boston area. For six seasons, 1963-68, the
Patriots played in the venerable Fenway Park, home of baseball's
Boston Red Sox.
poorly suited as a football venue and also had inadequate seating capacity
33,000 for baseball and
only about 40,000 seats for football.
Patriots played the 1969 season at
Stadium at Boston
College in Chestnut Hill, and the 1970 season at Harvard Stadium in Boston's Allston neighborhood.
Foxborough site was selected when the owners of Bay State Raceway donated the land needed. It is midway between
Boston and Providence, Rhode Island.
Ground was broken in September 1970.
Foxboro Stadium was built in less than 11 months at an announced
cost of $4,000,000, (later determined to be about
$7.1 million, or $37.5 million in 2007 dollars) a very
small amount, even at the time, for a major
stadium. This was because the Patriots received no
funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the city of Boston.
Because of this, and also the era in which it was designed and
built, it had very few amenities—the type that became commonplace
at football stadiums a short time later—such as individual seating,
"club seats", luxury suites, and deluxe locker rooms for the
Like the majority of outdoor sports venues built in the U.S. in the
1970s, Foxboro Stadium was designed for the use of an artificial turf
playing surface. When this
practice fell out of favor in the 1990s due to the supposed higher
rate of injuries resulting from play on the artificial surface, the
field's surface was replaced by natural grass, as it was at many
other facilities. At Foxboro Stadium the replacement grass field
never seemed to drain properly, resulting in the playing surface
often becoming a quagmire during wet playing conditions.
The original name in 1971 was Schaefer Stadium
of that name in an early
example of the sale of naming rights
agreement expired in 1983, Anheuser-Busch took over the rights, but instead of putting the
name of one of its brands of beer on the stadium, agreed to name it
Sullivan Stadium in honor of the family who was at
the time the majority owners of the Patriots.
Only after the
Sullivan family sold their majority interest in the team did it
actually become known officially as Foxboro Stadium.
Stadium also served as the venue at times for the home football
games of Boston
College, and hosted numerous other outdoor events,
Some concerts include Simon and Garfunkel
, Paul McCartney
solo and with Billy Joel
as part of the Face to Face
, New Kids on the Block
, Van Halen
(as part of the 1988 Monsters of Rock
tour which also featured Scorpions
), Boston-based Aerosmith
, Pink Floyd
, George Strait
, Dave Matthews Band
, The Rolling Stones
, Bob Dylan
, Guns N' Roses
, Genesis George Strait
The venue hosted six games in the 1994 FIFA World Cup
, five in the
1999 FIFA Women's World
, the 1996 and 1999 MLS Cups
, as well as the WWF King of the Ring
tournament in 1985 and
By the late 1990s Foxboro Stadium had become functionally obsolete
in the modern NFL. The facility was built cheaply as a "bare bones"
stadium and had very few modern amenities. It also lacked luxury
boxes, a major source of revenue for other teams in the league, and
patrons had to sit on backless aluminum benches, as there was only
a handful of actual seats. With a capacity of just over 60,000, it
was one of the smallest stadiums in the NFL.
After 31 NFL seasons, Foxboro Stadium was demolished in January
2002, after the conclusion of the 2001
season (in which the Patriots won their
first Super Bowl
). The last game played
in the stadium— "The Tuck rule
"—was played in a snow storm
Patriots win against the Oakland
, which famously featured an overturned fumble call
based on the scarcely enforced tuck rule
in the final minutes. The stadium's former site became the parking
lots of its successor, Gillette Stadium, before being developed into the open-air shopping
Notes and references
- Ask PFW: Winning vs. whining Patriots.com