SBD/Issue 234/Facilities & Venues

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  • Jerry Jones Defends Video Board Height Despite Punt Hitting It

    Jones Says He Sees No Reason To Raise
    Video Board At Cowboys Stadium
    Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said that he "sees no reason to raise the video board at Cowboys Stadium, even though a punt hit it" during Friday's preseason game against the Titans, according to Tim MacMahon of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Titans P A.J. Trapasso hit the board with a punt in the third quarter of Friday's game, but Jones pointed out that the stadium was "built to league specifications." Jones: "How high is high if somebody just wants to sit there and kick straight up?" Jones added that the "height of the digital boards shouldn't be an issue because teams typically don't punt the ball down the middle of the field." NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello in an e-mail said that the league is "aware of the issue and will continue to monitor it." Titans coach and NFL Competition Committee co-Chair Jeff Fisher: "Something has to get worked out. It can become a problem" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/23). In L.A., Sam Farmer notes Trapasso's punt after hitting the scoreboard "bounced straight down and was ruled dead, meaning the down had to be replayed." NFL VP/Officiating Mike Pereira: "It's something we're going to have to look at. ... We need to see if there's anything further we can do to make sure there's equity involved if it happens again." Pereira noted that it is "entirely possible that a team trying to protect a lead could run time off the clock by intentionally punting the ball into the video board and getting a do-over," as there is "no rule for putting time back on the clock in that situation" (L.A. TIMES, 8/23). Both Trapasso and Titans P Craig Hentrich hit the scoreboard several times during pregame warmups, and Trapasso said, "After a billion dollars and the way you watch people kick, somebody could have figured that math out a little bit." Hentrich: "I don't know what the people were thinking. I guess they should have tested things out before they put that thing in place. It'll have to be raised" (ESPN.com, 8/22).

    SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE: Colts President and Competition Committee member Bill Polian said of the height of the video board, "It's just an honest mistake that needs to be corrected." SI.com's Peter King writes the "only possible option ... is raising the video board 15 or 20 feet, which stadium officials say can be done." King: "Whatever happens, I can't help but thinking someone's going to take a pretty big fall for this. I was told Sunday night the Cowboys definitely got the green light from the NFL for all football and competitive aspects of the stadium, including the positioning of the board 90 feet above the field." An NFL source said that there are "two worrisome things about doing nothing." The NFL "would never want to create different ground rules for one stadium," and not acting could mean "multiple do-overs in one game, particularly if the team has a boomer punter trying to kick the ball high to let his coverage team run under it downfield" (SI.com, 8/24). ESPN's Chris Mortensen said, "The league will certainly take a look at whether this thing needs to be raised, who's going to pay for it, and then they have to decide if it's a reviewable play" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/22). In Nashville, David Climer wrote the height of the video board is a "joke," as replaying a down in an NFL game is "considerably different from the chair official calling a let on a point at Wimbledon." For Jones to "turn a blind eye to the video board error is utter foolishness" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 8/23).

    Source Says NFL Meticulously Reviews
    Plans For Each Proposed Stadium
    LEAGUE ALREADY SIGNED OFF ON HEIGHT: An NFL source noted that the league "meticulously reviews the plans for each proposed stadium, and ensures that there will be no problems." PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio wrote Jones will be "more than a little miffed if told that he needs to find a way to pull the video screens higher or, if that can't be done, take the thing down" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 8/22). ESPN Radio 103.3 Dallas host R.J. Choppy said Jones is “pretty adamant that it hit league specifications and that he wants to keep it there.” Choppy: “I don't see him moving this thing without a fight.” The scoreboard will be moved for a U2 concert in the stadium on October 12 at a "cost of a couple million dollars," and Choppy said, "If he's going to move it for U2, the league is saying, 'Why don't you move it for us?'” Choppy: “There again is the almighty dollar that's in play. The reason he built this stadium with the roof is so he can get U2 and get a Super Bowl and get a Final Four. He's looking at that as more of a business aspect than anything else" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/24). Fox' Joe Buck said altering the height of the scoreboard is “something I’m sure (that) won’t be a huge fix, I wouldn’t think." Buck: "It will certainly be talked about tomorrow and beyond until that changes." Fox' Troy Aikman: "That’s just never been anything that anyone’s had to worry about before" ("Titans-Cowboys," Fox, 8/21).

    REALLY BRIGHT LIGHTS: In San Antonio, Buck Harvey wrote the HD video board "changes everything, including the way sports are watched." Friday's game "might have been the first time a majority of the audience in attendance preferred to look at a television screen instead of the actual athletes" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 8/22). ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky wrote it is "hard to take your eyes off" the scoreboard (ESPN.com, 8/21). Buck said, "It is really hard to take your eyes off that scoreboard. It’s so bright and from what I’m told, they’re only using it at a quarter of its brightness." Aikman: "It’s as clear a picture as I’ve ever seen of any size” ("Titans-Cowboys," Fox, 8/21).

    THAT DESERVES A "WOW": In Oklahoma City, Mike Baldwin wrote of Cowboys Stadium, "Having attended games in nearly every NFL stadium and 36 major league ballparks, including 26 current MLB stadiums, it's rare that a stadium produces the 'wow factor' I experienced Friday night. ... I can't go as far as to call Jones Mahal the best sports facility in the world. Most dazzling? Certainly. Most spectacular? Absolutely." There are "so many nuances it's hard to list them all." NFL.com's Gil Brandt, who previously served as Cowboys VP/Player Personnel, said of the stadium, "When you talk about the wow factor this is 100 times wow! This is totally unbelievable. It reminds me of when the Astrodome was built" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 8/22). In Ft. Worth, Jennifer Floyd Engel wrote, "I had never been to JerryWorld prior to Friday, and wow. Just wow." Jones has created an "almost perfect football stadium," as it is "beautiful and light and functional and grandiose" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/24). In Ft. Worth, Randy Galloway wrote the "awe moment comes the second you walk into Arlington's big top." The windows "make it the best roofed stadium you've ever seen, and not just the monster panes at both ends, but also all that other glass at the top of the building provides an openness no place else can touch" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/22). Buck: "There is nothing like this stadium anywhere in this country, or maybe anywhere else for that matter." Fox' Curt Menefee added, "Consider this the new Colosseum. Like everything in Big D, this place is huge and unique” (Fox, 8/21). Cowboys fan Carlos Silva: "This is probably what the Romans felt when they first saw the Colosseum: the sense of awe" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/22).

    Jones Shown In His Box During
    Fox' Telecast Of Cowboys Game
    PRAISE FROM PLAYERS: Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones was shown during Fox' telecast of the game in his box, with Buck saying, “This has got to be a night filled with pride because players, members of the media, certainly fans, all filed through the doors here and looked up and around and thought, ‘Wow.’” Fox’ Pam Oliver said players for both the Cowboys and Titans "pretty much had the same reaction” to the new stadium. Oliver: “They sort of walk in here mouth agape and call the place 'sick’" (Fox, 8/21). Cowboys TE Jason Witten said, "There was so much excitement out there, it was a little surreal. It's so big, and the lights were so bright. It was just great to see it all come together and be a part of it." Receivers said that they "weren't bothered by the bright lights," rather the light "helped them make catches." Cowboys CB Terence Newman: "The architecture needs a big ovation. It's one of the premier stadiums in the world" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/22).

    HAVE TO ADMIT IT'S GETTING BETTER: In Ft. Worth, Jim Reeves wrote Cowboys Stadium is a "heck of a lot better football stadium than it is a concert venue." The view from the press-box during Friday's game contained a "crisp, clean look, all silver and blue." Reeves also attended Wednesday's Paul McCartney concert at the stadium, and he wrote the venue "looks a lot better with the turf down than the bare concrete we sat on for the concert." For non-football events, fans are "seated on the floor, but amazingly, no regular restrooms were available for those floor fans." Reeves: "I'll be back for more football. I can't say the same about another concert" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/23).

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  • Facility Notes

     
    CRAIN'S N.Y. BUSINESS' Amanda Fung reported four of the six groups bidding to revive the Aqueduct racetrack have "anted-up their offers to New York state." Bidders have until this week to "change their original proposals and submit them to Gov. David Paterson's office." A group led by SL Green "boosted its offer" to $275M from $250M, while Aqueduct Entertainment Group, which includes Turner Construction, said that it "will give the state $100[M] on top of its initial" $151M bid if the state "boosts the number of video lottery terminals to 7,650 from the proposed 4,500." Las Vegas-based developer Steve Wynn "doubled his bid" to $300M from an initial proposal in June. A group led by MGM Mirage and developer R. Donahue Peebles has "also increased its bid," but a spokesperson "declined to elaborate." The group reportedly "put in an initial bid" of $150M (CRAINSNEWYORK.com, 8/21).

    MAKING PROGRESS: City of Houston and Harris County (TX) officials indicated that the two sides are "negotiating a deal that could pave the way for construction of a new soccer stadium, a new jail and the redevelopment of the Astrodome." In Houston, Bradley Olson reports the negotiations "focus on the use of tax increment reinvestment zones, or TIRZ, as vehicles for the major capital projects." Harris County Community Services Dir David Turkel: "We're in the home stretch" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/24).

    NOTES: The Univ. of Minnesota and the Wild are discussing an "outdoor NHL hockey game in the new TCF Bank Stadium in January 2012" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/23)....Ole Miss is "putting down new artificial turf at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium after two boosters anonymously donated $500,000" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 8/23).

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