It’s Okay to Like Cowboys Stadium


Why is it Cowboys fans think that in order to embrace one part of the team’s glorious existence, they have to put down another?

Case in point: I’m checking out my frequented message board when I notice one of the members posts an article from The Landry Hat. “Hey, I like that.” I do; I’ve tried to get the readership there to check The Landry Hat as often as they check BloggingTheBoys, Cowboys Nation, and Weekly World News.

The article was a piece by Tammy Garrett, no relation to our head coach, who started off saying she loved Texas Stadium, which is a sentiment shared by virtually all Dallas Cowboys fans. Other than corporate types who think it’s a great business outing to go to a football game on Sundays, I can’t think of any Cowboys fan that didn’t like Texas Stadium. My issue isn’t with that; it’s with this paragraph, which will be broken down and commented upon as it’s given to you:

"There’s no stopping progress, though, and Dallas moved into the monument to our owner’s ego known as Cowboys Stadium when the 2009 season kicked off."

Wait a minute; hold it! Let’s stop right there. “Monument to our owner’s ego”? The only people who make Cowboys Stadium a “monument to [Jerry’s] ego” are the jealous snits with styluses who were too talentless to make a living like Jerry did. Let’s analyze this factually and not emotionally.

Cowboys Stadium: another shibboleth for fans

First of all, unlike the Bengals’ stadium or the Packers’ field, the billion-dollar playing grounds in Arlington are not named for an individual. It’s named after the franchise that plays in the building. Secondly, there is a bronze statue outside one of the stadium’s entrances, and it’s not of Jerry Jones giving a botox smile. It’s of Tom Landry, the man that the mediots have you believe Jerry needed to get out of the way, sort of how Communist revolutionaries obliterate all objects of past heroes to remake the national identity in their image. Finally, three new Ring of Honor members were added in 2011, and none of them were the man who brought more Super Bowls to the franchise than any other owner.

Yeah, sure – it’s a monument to Jerry Jones’ ego. By the same token, MetLife Stadium is a monument to the egos of John Mara and Woody Johnson and the proposed Falcons stadium and Vikings stadium are monuments to the egos of Arthur Blank and Zygi Wilf respectively. Play more:

"Like its’ predecessor, the Cowboys new home also has a hole in its’ massive roof. That, ladies and gentlemen, is where the similarities end."

Actually, no, that isn’t where the similarities end. First of all, Clint Murchison, Jr., the Cowboys’ founder, wanted to build Texas Stadium downtown. Sound familiar? When Dallas mayor Erik Jonsson refused to pay city money to help fund the stadium, Murchison moved the new site to a 90-acre plot in Irving.

There was also an element of locking out the more passionate fans that the Cowboys had at the Cotton Bowl, most of whom were blue-collar, African-American, or Spanish-speaking. In other words, they couldn’t afford Texas Stadium’s high prices, to which Murchison replied, “If we discriminated against them, we discriminated against them, but no more than all America discriminates against people who don’t have money to buy everything they want.”

Can you imagine if Jerry Jones uttered that? It would be bigger than Aaron Hernandez.

The players, you know, the people who actually use the stadium, didn’t like moving from the Cotton Bowl to Texas Stadium. Cornell Green and Mel Renfro decried the loss of the enthusiastic fans and even felt it was more like a country club, or playing in their living rooms. The players also had safety concerns too, since the AstroTurf caused more injuries than the grass playing surface of the Cotton Bowl.

Everything that people say about “Jerry World” now is what they said over forty years ago about Texas Stadium. Let’s hear some more:

"The hole in Jerry’s Billion Dollar Baby is retractable and fans in the nosebleeds can enjoy their $10 souvenir bucket of popcorn while watching a massive hdtv. Who needs to squint at those tiny little specks on the field, right?"

Yours truly has been blessed with the occasion to see four games in Cowboys Stadium. The first was against the Falcons on October 25th, 2009. It was from the vantage Ms. Garrett describes with the nosebleed seats that I saw the contest. For me, all the huge screen did was help complement the specks on the field. You know, if you didn’t exactly know who was motioning to the slot due to your far away seats, you could look at the screen and see it was Crayton. People who go to Cowboys Stadium to watch football don’t solely watch the HD screen. Let’s read some more:

"Instead of a tunnel, the latest batch of Cowboys get to walk through a bar where fans in all stages of inebriation can get up close and personal with them on their way to and from the field."

It is undeniable the players walk through a lounge on the way to the field, but the fans are lined up off to the side and cheering them as they walk onto the field, akin to when the team arrives to a stadium. It’s a marketing technique that Tex Schramm is probably applauding from Heaven. Yeah, Tex Schramm – the guy who helped create the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and label us “America’s Team,” two items of which Tom Landry did not approve. The pathway through the lounge at Cowboys Stadium is cordoned off by about five feet with security nearby, so no disgruntled Diogenes fan embracing a knock-off curmudgeon attitude found in newspaper sports sections can get “up close and personal” with the players. The visiting team also has to walk through a similar area, though it’s cordoned off with plexiglass. What else is left?

"If you aren’t in the mood for football in the Cowboys football stadium, there is a billion dollar art collection to tour and aVictoria’s Secret for shopping….nice!"

Having a Victoria’s Secret in Cowboys Stadium did make this author roll his eyes, but it’s a way that professional teams are monetizing their stadiums by putting shops and offices in there that are open year-round. The new Yankees Stadium has a Hard Rock Café in it, and the Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome) in Toronto has hotel rooms in it. It’s also a way for the Cowboys to generate more interest from the female population, as is the entire strategy of the NFL.

The part about the modern art is so patently bitter I debated addressing it, but I’ll take the bait and do so. Art tours at Cowboys Stadium can’t be taken on game days, and the art is in a portion of the stadium that is cordoned off to the general public on game days. So, unless you have a ticket that permits you to be in that part of the stadium to get to your concourse, you’re not going to see the modern art that Gene Jones commissioned for the stadium.

Having watched two afternoon games in the early fall at Texas Stadium, when temperatures were about ninety in the stands, I am unabashed in my preference for Cowboys Stadium. Yeah, that’s right. I like watching Cowboys games better in Cowboys Stadium than I did Texas Stadium. Does this mean I have to bash Texas Stadium to appreciate Cowboys Stadium? Not anymore than appreciating Emmitt Smith means I have to put down Tony Dorsett, and that’s the biggest mental block in the Cowboys fan base.

I can’t look at the demolition footage of Texas Stadium. I refuse too, because I don’t to believe it’s gone, even though I drive by the hole in the ground on 183 into Dallas. It was a temple to football excellence. All of our Super Bowls seasons were played in that place. 17 of the Cowboys’ 20 Ring of Honor members either played or coached in that stadium. Twenty-one playoff games took place there, along with twenty-six beat downs of the Redskins. The house the Dallas Cowboys were raised in was Texas Stadium.

Cowboys Stadium’s problem is it has none of that fortune, which has more to do with the team than the designs, shops, video boards, or artwork. Texas Stadium had female distractions (the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders inaugural season was 1972, Texas Stadium’s first full season), laid back fans, and an appeal to corporatism. People notice all of that ancillary stuff at Cowboys Stadium because the product on the field has been less than stellar. No one will notice the go-go dancers and the stadium art when Coach Garrett is hoisting the George Halas Trophy.