For a state with a reputation that “everything is bigger,” I had tremendous expectations for the Jerry Dome (aka Cowboys Stadium) experience and, yet, every expectation that I had was easily surpassed. I was honestly blown away. I had even toured the stadium previously so I was pretty sure I knew what to expect but, still, I was completely blown away. I can’t tell you what a tremendous experience we all had at the stadium and I’d highly recommend going out there to see a game if you get the chance!
The first thing you notice about the stadium is that it’s huge. As we drove towards Fort Worth, we came over a small rise and, on the horizon, you could clearly see this massive steel structure. Now, the rise that we were driving over was headed to Fort Worth but we could still clearly see Cowboys Stadium at least 15 or 20 miles off in the distance. It literally stands alone on the landscape and, as it turns out, as a sports venue.
(The Jerry World Dome)
The first time I entered Cowboys Stadium was roughly two years ago when I had the fortunate opportunity to take a tour of the facility. Now, I’m nothing special because they do offer these tours to anyone with a $20 bill but I’ll tell you it’s easily worth the price of admission. On the tour, we had a back stage pass to the luxury boxes, the press box, the Cowboy’s dressing room and, yes, the Cowboy Cheerleader’s dressing room (their little white shorts are so tiny!). It was awesome!
My favorite and most memorable part of the tour was getting to walk onto the field – it was incredible. As soon as they let us onto the field, I immediately rushed over to the 20 yard line and craned upward so that I could see the end of the most grandiose scoreboard in the history of sports. I then walked sixty yards to the other 20 yard line and craned upward again where I saw the other end of this massive jumbo tron. These screens literally span from 20 yard line to 20 yard line and boast the clearest picture known to mankind. Lost in the massive 60 yard span is the fact that the very ends of the scoreboard also have massive square screens that, while much smaller, are magnificent in their own right. The picture is so freaking clear on these screens that you found yourself watching the screens instead of the game on the field!
(You can’t believe how crisp and clear the video screens are!)
So, because of the tour, I’d been there and done that in regards to the stadium, right? Not hardly. When you fill that bad boy up with 90 thousand rowdy fans, the massive facility transforms from a super structure to a super party! With the screens being so big, it’s honestly like going over to your friend’s house and getting a front row seat in his living room to watch the game. And, no matter where you sit in the stadium, you get an awesome view of the biggest baddest TV you’ve ever seen. When you leave your seats to get to the concourse area, you are tempted to hang out in the multiple lounges they have to offer. The couches and seats make for an inviting scene and, of course the wide array of food and drink options make you want to stay even more. The concession prices are outrageous but, honestly, you are having such a good time that you don’t even mind handing over a spleen to pay your bar bill. Oh, and when you go to the concession stands, there are roughly eleventy billion flat screen TVs mounted throughout the wide concourse so you never miss any of the action. Jerry thought of everything but, at 1.15 billion dollars, he better have! Sadly, the only thing the facility didn’t have was enough game day merchandise as they seemingly sold out of their Cowboys Classic gear in a heartbeat!
I will say that there was one rather huge problem with the stadium that people were pretty hot about (literally) and that was the cattle drive that resulted from FIVE gates being forced to go thru a small entrance way. Of course, everyone had to be wanded in case they were carrying something from Al Qaeda but, instead of preparing for this and having multiple entry points, Jerry decided to push 50K thru one small area of the stadium. Perhaps on a pleasant fall afternoon or evening that wouldn’t be a big deal. But, when the temperature gauge reads 107 degrees and folks are forced to stand in line in the heat, well, people get pissy.
(Here’s the line to get into the stadium – the guys with the wands are at the tents)
Listen, I’ve been to well over half the major league baseball stadiums, numerous NFL stadiums and I’ve visited well over 20 college football stadiums. I’ve seen the Red River Shootout in the Cotton Bowl. I’ve seen Michigan play at Notre Dame in front of “Touchdown Jesus.” I’ve been to every single SEC stadium with the exception of Texas A&M and Missouri. I’ve seen the Swamp, the Plains, Death Valley and the greatest 60 seconds in college football (Clemson). Prior to this game, I said Notre Dame and Reliant Stadium were my top two venues (for very different reasons) but my new favorite place is easily Cowboys Stadium. Yes, Cowboys Stadium is overkill on every level imaginable as the thing is a massive tribute to Jerry Jones’ ego but, guys, it’s soooooo well done. It is soooo impressive. The place is immaculate inside and, yet, the openness of the stadium makes you feel as though you are outdoors. Yep, from the ease of getting in and out of the stadium (well, the parking lot – not so much on getting inside the thing) to the experience inside the stadium itself, if you are a sports fan of any kind you absolutely owe it to yourself to see this tremendous stadium!
(The end zone view)