Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium / District Of Columbia Stadium
RFK has seen better days, and while it continues to host D.C. United soccer games, there are rumors the Redskins want to return to DC proper. Some theorize they could use the RFK site for a new stadium, but given that FedEx Field was only built in 1996, it’s doubtful that will happen anytime soon. (Then again, the Miami Heat abandoned the Miami Arena—which was built for them—after only 11 years, so anything’s possible.)
Here is some footage of the stadium as it looked at a soccer game in 1967.
- The first base dugout tunnel led to the home club house and home football locker room since the Senators and Redskins always used it. The first base dugout is made of concrete and it’s never been removed
- The franchise offices and (renovated/enlarged) clubhouse were on the third base side, the third base dugout was enlarged because of this
- From 1961-04 the third base dugout was removable for football. The Nationals third base dugout installed in 05 is permanant and it remains in place today
- As a result, the football gridiron has moved 5 yards closer to rightfield. The portable stands are no longer installed in the endzone for the one football game played there each year.
Grateful Dead at RFK Stadium
- The 400 level was later replaced with purple plastic seats and the 500 level wooden seats were painted yellow like the 400 level was in this photo
- The first picture was most likely from 1972 (based on the Washington Post and People’s Drug ads in RF behind the stage).
- The portable bleachers behind the stage were not removed from the south endzone for the concert. In later years, the stages would always back right up to the wall, thus allowing more room on the field and fewer obstructed seats in the upper and lower levels.
- Notice the people sitting on the top ledges of the upper deck, above the last row of seats. There must not have been many ushers in the building that day; they’d freak out if they saw you doing that now!
- For the Grateful Dead shows at RFK in the 90s, it was only the field that was open GA, there were no seats, just green grass. The upper and lower decks were all assigned seating. The ushers carefully guarded the gates onto the field to keep it from getting overrun. Everybody wanted to be down there and not in the seats!
RFK or FedEx?
- Today, RFK’s location is too hemmed in by the neighborhood for current/future NFL use. It requires acreage for parking and other income generators that the site doesn’t have.
- Parking garages are an option; the Nationals have the highest parking figures in MLB.
- Some think FedEx is too far from downtown, and that DC will never land a Superbowl until they rebuild at the RFK site.
- Others hardly feel like FedEx needs replacing anytime soon. It may make the beltway a mess, but has many modern amenities and good attendance.
- D.C. United continues to look for a home. All stadiums could host soccer, but most can’t host a regulation field. Even the Cowboys Stadium would have had to be retrofitted for the World Cup had the US won the host bid.
RFK Stadium Seat Capcity Vs. Cowboys Stadium
- Cowboys Stadium can go up to 100k with temporary seating. FedEx has been reduced to 85k over the past two offseasons, down from 91k at it’s peak from 2004-2009.
- Cowboys Stadium trumps FedEx in sq. footage on the concourses, and the Jerruh Dome reportedly feels much bigger than FedEx when you’re in and around it.