The billion-dollar stadium is located in Arlington, Tex., and is considered the Taj Mahal of the NFL. It was built as the home of the Dallas Cowboys, a storied NFL franchise that houses many Lombardi Trophys. It has and will continue to be the venue for college football games, concerts, corporate events (on the field for up to 4,000 guests) and galas. Within this mega venue it has over 22 locations for the perfect event, which includes weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, conferences, conventions, trade shows, consumer events and much more.
In my 15 years as an NFL executive, I have been in every stadium in the league, with the exception of the Jets and Giants stadium in the Meadowlands, which I experienced on Monday Night Football when the Rams played the Giants. That made it every stadium in the league.
I was a part of the 101ESPN crew that covered what is called Super Week, a media bonanza the week prior to the Super Bowl. And at that time I attended media day in this mega stadium. While it had a very impressive outer structure when pulling up to the venue, we were distracted by the snow and ice we had to stomp through to get inside. That took away some of the luster.
Once inside Cowboys Stadium, it is much more than just a stadium. It could be an extremely impressive and expensive art museum. It has galleries, local artist’s master pieces and houses some of the best art pieces from around the world. There were giant mirrored glass cubes, oil and linen paintings, printed aluminum plates, and vinyl prints that were 108 feet long. You see, everything is big in Texas.
There is no other stadium like this in the world. The question is whether it will be named one of the 21st century wonders of the world. It houses the largest big screen in the world, called the Colossal Video Board. It is 160 feet in length (which stretches from one 20-yard line to the other) and 72 feet in height and weighs 1.2 million pounds. On both ends there are two end-zone boards that are 53 feet long and 30 feet high, allowing a view from anywhere in the stadium.
It has a retractable roof that was designed to look just like the old stadium opening, and yes so God could watch America’s Team play. What was awesome was the retractable end-zone doors, which reminded me of my days working and visiting at Boeing, were they housed the 747 airplanes. The doors on the stadium are 120 feet high and 180 feet wide and require18 minutes to open.
I was fortunate to walk into one of the field-level touchdown suites on my visit during media day. Cowboys fans are treated to the players from both teams walking through the middle of the suite to the field and back during halftime, which is protected by giant glass panels. What an experience for the fans.
I will get another opportunity to visit this grand palace on Sunday as the Rams’ sideline reporter and I will experience another section of the stadium: the visiting locker room and the press box, which I’m sure are outrageous as well.