Fiesta Bowl Countdown: University of Phoenix Stadium is a unique stadium

Plenty of new football stadiums have retractable roofs. But only one has a retractable field, too — University of Phoenix Stadium.

That makes the site of this year’s Fiesta Bowl between Kansas State and Oregon a unique stadium.

It may not be as fancy as new Cowboys Stadium, and it may not be as massive as MetLife Stadium, but it is still considered a state-of-the-art place to play.

After three years of construction the stadium opened in August 2006. It’s official capacity is 63,400, but it is expandable up to 72,200. The Arizona Cardinals play their home games at the facility, and it has hosted the Fiesta Bowl every year since it has been running. The Super Bowl, BCS championship game, NCAA Tournament and countless concerts have also come to Glendale in recent years.

Still, what sets University of Phoenix Stadium apart from most stadiums (aside from its exterior surface, which represents a barrel cactus) is its retractable field. It slides in and out of the facility, allowing groundskeepers to grow a natural grass playing surface in the Arizona sun during the week and football players to make plays on it inside the dome on the weekend. It also prevents unwanted wear and tear from people walking on it during concerts or trade shows.

For football games, the field is always perfect.

The field moves in and out on an elaborate set of wheels and motorized parts. Moving at a snails pace, it takes more than one hour to roll the field in or out of the stadium.

The retractable roof moves much faster, and can open in 15 minutes.

Here is a good news report on the logistics of it all.

The last time K-State played in the Fiesta Bowl, the game was held on Arizona State’s campus. Now the bowl game is played in a world-class stadium and on a one-of-a-kind field.


Next up on the countdown: A statistical look at Oregon’s only loss.

Last time on the countdown: Photos of the Year.

Editor’s Note: On Jan. 3, the Kansas State football team will face Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. With that in mind, I am counting down to the big game at University of Phoenix Stadium by attempting to write 21 blog posts in 21 days. I use the word “attempting” because I can only think of so many blog ideas. I’m confident that I can go 21 for 21, but your help is appreciated. Feel free to send a blog idea (or two) my way at or via twitter @KellisRobinett.