The Buffalo Bills (2-1) and the Atlanta Falcons (3-0) square off at 1 p.m. Sunday inside the newly-opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a 71,000-person facility that opened for play this fall and cost more than $1.6 billion dollars to build. The Falcons have been a member of the National Football League since the 1966 season, while the Buffalo Bills entered the NFL in 1970 after claiming a pair of American Football League championships (1964 and 1965) in their 10-year AFL run.
Both teams have plenty of history in the NFL, but the Bills have been a model of consistency when it comes to the team’s stadium. The Falcons, meanwhile, have gone through stadiums at a rapid pace during the history of the franchise.
Before the 1973 season, the Bills debuted their brand-new stadium, Rich Stadium, at the time an 80,000-person facility located in Orchard Park, N.Y. That facility is still in use, and has received several face-lifts over the years, including $57 million in improvements in 1998, and, more recently, $130 million in renovations in 2012. The current lease keeps the Bills in Orchard Park through 2023.
The Falcons, on the other hand, are now on their third stadium in their 52-year history. Atlanta debuted in the 1966 season at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, a multi-use facility with a capacity of around 60,000 that the team shared with the Atlanta Braves for 26 years.
The Georgia Dome debuted in time for the 1992 season, with a $214 million price tag and a capacity of roughly 75,000.
After only 25 years, Falcons owner Arthur Blank pushed for a new facility, and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with a retractable roof, was built near the old Georgia Dome.
While the Bills have the Falcons beat when it comes to stadium loyalty, that might not last much longer. Talks have heated up recently about moving the Bills from their cozy Orchard Park home to a state-of-the-art, downtown facility.