I was fortunate enough to secure two tickets to the new Cowboys Stadium for Saturday's pre-season game against the SF 49ers. It was an unbelievable experience, and I am glad I got to go. Here are some quick hit, scattershooting thoughts, a la Barry Green:
- ExplosiveMom did us a HUGE favor and dropped us off and picked us up from the game. She dropped us off just East of Rangers Ballpark, and we walked from there. It was a trek, but not terrible. Luckily, we caught a break and it wasn't that hot.
- The stadium is so big, you think you are close to it. News flash: you are not close to it. Ever. You just keep thinking you are close, and you never quite seem to get there.
- If you plan on going, pay attention to your "Entry Gate". You can't just go into any door you want to, you have to go to the one they tell you. Unfortunately, Entry Gate "G" was on the farthest possible side from where we were dropped off. Fail.
- The video board is indescribable. Seriously, the English language does not have the correct words to describe this thing. It literally took my breath away.
- The floors of the stadium use that kind of coating that makes it look highly polished. It was a nice touch that really gives the stadium that extra bit of shine that make it stand out.
- Barry mentioned the "dance team" that performed just before each half. He was correct that it was like a stripper revue. I am pretty sure that their shorts were designed to encourage camel toe.
- I never would have known this if it wasn't for the video board. Again, this thing is impressive.
- There are still a LOT of problems with the game presentation, specifically that they still lack a constant scoreboard that is easy to see. I didn't find it until the third quarter. I was constantly wondering down and distance and how much was left on the game clock. That should permanently be on the video board.
- Speaking of game presentation, Jody Dean is TERRIBLE as the VOCS (Voice of Cowboys Stadium). This will warrant its own post later.
- Let me put the board into perspective. When they showed a cheerleader on the board, you could tell if she had removed her bellybutton ring. It is that big and that clear. I now know which cheerleaders have moles on which parts of their bodies.
- One of the coolest parts of the video board, obviously, is the replays. What makes it extra special is that you can see things like where Romo's eyes were looking, or you can see Wade Phillips say "dammit" after a holding penalty that costs his team a field goal.
- Lots and lots of crowd shots on the board, but they need to put a little more variety in the sections. I swear, there was one guy who probably had about ten minutes of face time on the board, because they would cut to the same section over and over.
- I am pretty sure there was one section where they wouldn't let you in unless your arm flab jiggled when you waved. They showed that one on the board a few times as well.
- Concession stand situation: Food was ok, but we didn't buy much. During halftime, we waited in line for about 20 minutes for nachos and a Dr. Pepper, while looking over at the "barbecue" concession stand with zero line. Might want to balance those out a bit in the future.
- Another weird thing that I can't decide if I like or not: While we were in line, not 20 feet from the entrance to the seats, we couldn't hear a thing from the game. No cheers, no PA announcements, nothing. Usually, when you are at a game and waiting in line, you can get a decent idea of what is going on by listening to the crowd, but you couldn't hear it at all!
- You have to make yourself watch the game action on the field. Gordo on the Ticket described it best this morning: It has a tractor beam. It keeps pulling you in, over and over again (the video board).
- You can never say again that you don't go to the game because you get a better view on television. Nope. Don't want to ever hear it again.
- However, it is perfectly acceptable to say you can't go because you can't afford it.
- Leg room was more than acceptable. I never felt uncomfortable, with my section totally full.
- One thing that is weird: Not being able to see the other side of the stadium, because of the screen. It is almost like you have that half of the stadium to yourself. It is hard to explain how it feels, but it almost feels like there is a divide and they are at a different game.
- Not one punt came close to the board in this game. I am sticking to my guns: The only way these guys are going to hit the board is if they are trying to do it, and if they are trying to do it, it is a terrible punt that they would get yelled at by their coach if they did in a game.
- They are still working out the volume levels. Music was kind of loud (but not as loud as I heard the first game was), but not overbearing. The commercials sounded pretty good, but the levels still need some work.
- There were a lot of the same complaints about the American Airlines Center when it opened, and they have worked all of those out.
- Did I mention that Jody Dean was awful?
- On our way out of the stadium (with about 4 mins left in the 4th), we were walking by one of the really, really close parking lots. There was a guy there waving us towards the sidewalks. As we were about to walk across the driveway, he stops us with his light to allow the car to go through, which I thought was really odd. Most of the time, the cars stop for the pedestrians, but not this time. I said to him, "You are making US stop? Geez!" and he said, "Hey, I don't make the rules.". So the rules are, let the car plow through pedestrians? I can understand if there was a huge stream of people, but it was me, ExplosiveWife and another couple following behind us. The car would have had to wait for 5 seconds, tops.
- The escalators up to the top sections give you serious vertigo. They are REALLY high up, and you can look over the edge into the abyss. Holding the handrails is highly recommended.
I will say this, though: This place is amazing. Flat out breathtaking. Every single detail seems to be attended to, and the 2011 Super Bowl will be so freaking cool to have here, with the Party Pass concourses and all. Kudos to the designers, architects, and workers who busted their asses getting this thing ready for the season.
Jerry Jones is going to make SO MUCH MONEY off of this thing.