Today, the Masters gets underway in Augusta, Ga. It’s one of the most-revered events on the sports calendar, one that lures in both diehard and casual golf fans alike.
Part of the attraction is the venue. But it’s not just that Augusta National Golf Club is a great course, complete with its famous creeks, ponds, trees and azaleas. It’s also the fact that the place is a living history book.
Every April, a trip around the track provides both golfers and fans with flashbacks to some of the game’s most-iconic moments. It’s the spot Gene Sarazen made “the shot heard round the world” on No. 15 in 1935, carding a double-eagle that propelled him to victory. It’s Amen Corner, where Arnold Palmer staved off Ken Venturi in 1958 with one masterful escape after another. It’s the 18th green, where Jack Nicklaus made a putt to win in 1986 at the age of 46. The list goes on and on.
Unfortunately, other sports don’t pay as much attention to tradition. They tear down old venues, replacing them with shiny, new monstrosities loaded with luxury boxes, concessions and other amenities.
While change is fine, it certainly robs sports of its history. This is certainly the case in football, where some of the greatest all-time NFL moments occurred in places that are now parking lots, bulldozed to the ground in the name of progress.
If old stadiums weren’t razed in the NFL, what venues would make the list of the most-sacred places in the history of the sport? In honor of the Masters, here are the top 18:
18. Soldier Field (Chicago, Ill.)
Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, this stadium has been the home of the Bears since 1971. During that time, some magical moments have occurred on its turf, including Walter Payton breaking Jim Brown’s all-time rushing record, the infamous “Fog Bowl” during the 1988 NFC playoffs and Mike Brown’s back-to-back OT game-winners in 2001.
17. Foxboro Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
The Patriots called this venue home from 1971-2001, a place that provided two of the most memorable snow-related moments in NFL history. First, there was the infamous “Snowplow Game” in 1982, when head coach Ron Meyer had the grounds crew clear a spot for his kicker to make a game-winning field goal, and “The Tuck Rule Game” in 2001.