SBD/Issue 235/Facilities & Venues

NFL Competition Committee Set To Discuss Cowboys Video Board

Conference Call Set For NFL Committee
To Discuss Cowboys Video Board Today
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "didn't initially fear NFL interference" regarding the height of the video board at the new Cowboys Stadium after Titans P A.J. Trapasso hit the board during Friday's preseason game, but NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello confirmed that a conference call is "set for today" for the league's Competition Committee to discuss the issue, according to Jeff Caplan of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. NFL Exec VP/Football Operations Ray Anderson is "leading the review of the video-board controversy." Jones was not available for comment yesterday and Cowboys Exec VP & COO Stephen Jones declined to take questions about the video board. Cowboys Dir of Corporate Communications Brett Daniels: "We believe in a competitive game situation, the height of the board will not be a factor." Caplan notes the Cowboys "will temporarily disconnect and raise the board for the U2 concert Oct. 12 to accommodate the band's 100-foot stage," though Daniels said the board will "return to its standard height of 90 feet above the playing field" after the concert (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/25). ESPN's Ed Werder reported the conference call will tackle "what adjustments might be mandated and who will pay for them." However, the league also must keep in mind the Cowboys "positioned the scoreboard at an optimum viewing level for season ticketholders paying the highest prices" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/24).

ISSUE TO BE RESOLVED BEFORE REGULAR SEASON: In N.Y., Judy Battista writes the NFL "will not go into the regular season with the situation unresolved because it does not want games that count affected by what amounts to a large television." Anderson: "Competitive issues and integrity of the game is the primary focus. If there is interference with a key play of a game, we have to have a response to how we deal with it" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/25). NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reported the league does not want "to have one stadium where you have something a little bit fluke-ish that you don't have anywhere else." La Canfora: "The idea of do-overs, which is what they're doing now, isn't something that really is going to hold long-term. ... I think by the time the Cowboys play at least their second regular-season game, we're going to see this issue resolved" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 8/24).

Jones Adamant About Keeping Video Board At
90 Feet, But Several Cowboys Players Disagree
OUTDATED REGULATIONS? In Dallas, Todd Archer notes the Cowboys "exceeded the 85-foot minimum for a center-hung scoreboard set by the NFL." But Aiello in an e-mail said the 85-foot minimum "has been there many years." Aiello: "This is the first time a board has been hung over the field, I believe. The punters are apparently much stronger today" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/25). Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision in a statement yesterday said it built the video boards "to the specifications of the Cowboys and the NFL," and the "structure was in place and the height determined before" the boards were installed (N.Y. TIMES, 8/25). WQXI-AM’s Doug Stewart said Jerry Jones "isn’t going to pay for it out of his pocket because the NFL stated that it had to be 85 feet high and it’s actually 90 feet high. The NFL is going to have to foot the bill to fix this thing" ("ESPN First Take," ESPN2, 8/24).

CAN YOU TAKE ME HIGH ENOUGH? While Jones is "adamant about keeping the video board at 90 feet," several Cowboys players yesterday said that the team "probably should consider raising" the board. Cowboys WR Patrick Crayton: "We can't have games going on for three and a half hours because we're re-kicking all the time" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 8/25). ESPN’s Mike Hill said, “What I don’t understand is Jerry Jones is basically saying he doesn’t want to move it. But they can! They can move it. They’re moving it for a U2 concert. They can move it for Bono, but they can’t move it for the NFL?” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN2, 8/25).

IMPRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENT: A DALLAS MORNING NEWS editorial states fans should give Jones "credit for a real achievement, that new retractable-roofed pleasure palace in Arlington, the most impressive structure of sport in the nation and possibly the world." The "overwhelming consensus is that you get what you pay for," and when the "only substantive criticism is how high (or low) the world's largest video board hangs over the field, you know the other million things that could have gone wrong didn't" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/25). But ESPN's Jeremy Green said, "They've had nothing but issues with this stadium … and they said that they thought the stadium was jinxed" ("Football Today," ESPN.com, 8/24).

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