How 'Bout Them Cowboys?
Texas Stadium, located in the Dallas suburb of Irving, TX, opened its doors in 1971. It cost $35 million to build, which is equal to the contract Deion Sanders got when he officially joined the Cowboys on September 9, 1995.
The tour begins in a luxury box suite. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones used luxury boxes as a way around revenue sharing to make his team one of the most profitable in the league. It allowed him to sign players for huge signing bonuses prior to the NFL salary cap that fueled the team to three Super Bowl titles in the 1990s. For just $35,000, you can get a 10 seat luxury box for an entire season. It's only $4,900 if you'd like to go to just one game. It costs more for larger suites. It does come with a nice view of the game.
There is also a banquet hall on the premises. It comes with a pretty good view as well.
You can see the names of Cowboy greats listed in the stands.
When the sales pitch ended, the fun stuff of the tour began. We got to tour the Cowboys locker room. Since it is off-season, they were mostly empty.
They had Roy Williams' locker mocked up so you could see what they tend to look like.
In the old days of coach Tom Landry, all players names were written in chalk. If Landry came over and wiped it off, it meant you were cut.
Here's QB Drew Bledsoe's locker. I have a lot of respect for Bledsoe, a former Buffalo Bill, although that didn't stop me from lampooning him here a couple of seasons ago. He seems to be a great guy though.
Next, we got to walk down the tunnel that the players use to get to the field.
The players are reminded of past glory each time they walk past it.
Each time the Cowboys won Super Bowls, it's mentioned here.
Even the ones they beat the Buffalo Bills in. This was a hard pill to swallow, but I moved on.
The best part of the tour, however, was getting to play on the field. Because the preseason was in full swing when I visited Lambeau Field, I did not get the chance to do it in Green Bay. I did, in 1984, rush onto the Shea Stadium's field after the last game the "New York" Jets ever played in New York City. I grabbed a patch of grass an planted it in front of my apartment building. This marked the first time I walked onto an NFL field with permission.
The Cowboys use artificial turf, and it's hard as a rock. When I walked onto the Kansas City Chiefs practice field a couple of weeks ago, it was much softer. I can see how this kind of material ends careers.
They gave us time to throw around footballs and kick field goals.
It was the highlight of the tour and one of the best times I've had in a while. I was totally a kid again.
I even paid proper respect to the Dallas Cowboy star.
Texas Stadium has a unique design. The fans, for the most part, stay in the shade. The players still have to deal with the elements. That's the design. Although any Cowboy fan will tell you why there's a hole in the roof of Texas Stadium: "so God could see the Cowboys play."
The Cowboys have a real home field advantage here. The home team decides which side of the field the away team uses, and what kind of uniform they can wear. In the early part of the season, the Cowboys always wear white (thus, the away team must wear darker colors) and sit on the shady sideline (the away team is in the hot sun). Just being on the field for a few minutes made me realize just what kind of an advantage that is. Texas can get really hot.
From the field you get a good look at the glory of Cowboys past...Super Bowl banners.
Soon after, we walked up the stands to end the tour.
Unfortunately, Texas Stadium is falling apart, and a new stadium is being built. I believe this is a chunk of the roof of the stadium. Pieces of it are all over the place.
Here's a section of the roof, and it doesn't look too good.
A big Dallas Star and a statue of Tom Landry greets you as you enter the stadium.
Landry was the team's first coach and led them to two Super Bowl titles.
Wow, what a fantastic tour. It was so much fun that I think I'll hate the Cowboys just a little less. Take advantage of it while you can, the Cowboys will not be playing there much longer.