GORDON WHITE: New Cowboys Stadium: Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better
Those of us who watched the Texas-style official, big, super, gala, festive, fireworks enhanced, grand opening of the Cowboys Stadium on television last Sunday night know just how humongous it is.
We know because just about every NBC talking head the network could corral for the big bash told us time and time again that this Jerry Jones house was, as Ed Sullivan used to say, "REEAALLY BIG!"
Politicians, mostly of the Republican persuasion, along with other celebrities of the "please look at me" persuasion were televised enjoying themselves as part of the crowd that the Cowboys claimed consisted of 105,121 persons. If true, this mob made up the biggest gathering to attend a regular-season National Football League game.
There seems to be some question whether or not everyone who bought a standing room ticket (there are 80,000 seats) managed to get inside Cowboys Stadium.
Nevertheless, leading the proud and boastful Texans inside this latest football palace was Himself, Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys' owner and major domo of his dream arena.
There were a couple of pre-season warm-up games in Cowboys Stadium last month. But last Sunday night it was official and a resounding flop for the home team as the hated New York Giants came to inaugurate the biggest stadium in this part of the planet by facing the hometown favorite Dallas Cowboys.
Those Giants are real party poopers.
While a game of some interest to viewers was going on, the TV announcers let us know just what Jerry Jones hath wrought with this arena that cost some implausible amount that approached $1.2 billion.
(Think how many new public schools could be built with that money to replace the run-down, threadbare, mobile buildings children are forced to use for classrooms in Texas, North Carolina and elsewhere. Just a thought.)
We learned from those NBC talking heads that:
The stadium, with its movable roof that was kept open for the inaugural game, is a quarter mile from end to end of the super structure that serves as the tracks for that moving bonnet; Cowboys Stadium encompasses 3 million square feet within 73 acres; the controversial four-sided TV screen called the Jumbotron or Video Board that hangs only 90 feet above the gridiron is 72 feet high and 160 feet wide.
Although this TV screen that depicts players as very much larger than life was struck by a punted football during a pre-season game last month, no kicked footballs touched the screen during the grand opening game last week. However, the Jumbotron will undoubtedly be hit by a punted football sometime in the not too distant future.
Since Jerry Jones refuses to raise this all too gaudy TV screen, the NFL has decided that if the $40 million TV set is struck by a kicked or thrown football there will be a "do over" for that play.
According to those NBC talking heads, the Jumbotron weighs as much as a 747 jet airplane. As the season progresses there may well be some folks wishing the Jumbotron would fly away like a 747.
But if some of those very, very expensive seats are so far from the field that you need the world's largest TV screen to see what is going on way down there on the gridiron, why not save the money and stay home like any self respecting couch potato and watch the game on your own television set? You could save hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars.
I covered many a Dallas Cowboys game from the time they joined the NFL in 1960 until I retired in 1990. For the first 11 seasons they played in the Cotton Bowl, an art deco arena built in 1932 at the Texas Fair Park in Dallas.
In 1971 the Cowboys moved to their second home arena, Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. They played in that big stadium with the famous hole in the roof until this year when they moved to their present digs.
I can't really say whether the new arena is a good, spectator friendly stadium or not since I have only viewed it on television. I understand there are the usual, fancy amenities that are obligatory in new stadiums these days. Hot dogs and beer cost way too much as does everything else inside this stadium.
Jones even added his rather corny Texas version of the Folies-Bergere when he had some of his scantily dressed female cheerleader types wiggling their hips and other body parts on fenced-in platforms high above the gridiron floor.
At first glance I think I prefer the old Cotton Bowl or Texas Stadium to this over-sized pillbox with rails simply because the two older arenas had nothing between the gridiron and the beautiful, high, blue Texas sky to interfere with a football flying through the air.
North Carolina NFL fans who did not watch the Giants and Cowboys last Sunday night will have their chance to see what this big Texas wonder of the world is all about tomorrow night when ESPN telecasts the Carolina Panthers vs. the Cowboys on Monday Night Football.
The Grand Pyramid of Giza, the only one of the original Seven Wonders of the World still standing, would fit into this first wonder of Jerry Jones' world.
The REEAALLY BIG deal at the grand opening of Cowboys Stadium was the New York Giants' last second victory. It was the result of a game in which New York's quarterback, Eli Manning, outplayed the Dallas quarterback, Tony Romo, who threw three interceptions. Trailing by a point with less than a minute and a half to go, Manning took the Giants on a lengthy drive that ended with a 37-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes, giving the Giants a 33-31 triumph.
Those who watched and listened now know just how big Cowboys Stadium is and just how silent it can be when more than 100,000 Texans are suffering from temporary shock and disbelief.
Correction: In my column last week concerning New York Yankee hitting records, I incorrectly stated that Joe DiMaggio was a member of 13 Yankee World Series Championship teams during his 13 seasons playing for the Yankees. DiMaggio, who played on 4 World Series Championship teams in his first 4 years with the Yankees (1936--1939) probably thought in those years that he would be on a Championship squad every season he played for the Yanks. Actually, he played in 10 World Series, 9 of which the Yanks won.
Gordon White served 43 years as a sports reporter for The New York Times. His email is email@example.com.
More like this story