SBD/Issue 236/Facilities & Venues

Decision On Cowboys Video Board Expected Before Saturday's Game

NFL Competition Committee Has Forwarded
Video Board Recommendations To Goodell
A decision or statement from the NFL on whether to raise the video board at the new Cowboys Stadium is "likely to be rendered" before Saturday's 49ers-Cowboys game, according to David Moore of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. An NFL spokesperson confirmed that the NFL Competition Committee "forwarded its recommendations to NFL staff on how to address the issue," and those recommendations "have been passed along" to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell "does not have to run his resolution by" the league's BOG. Meanwhile, Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones in an interview on KRLD-FM compared Titans P A.J. Trapasso's punt that hit the board during Friday's preseason game "to the swing that baseball players take in the home run derby during All-Star festivities" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/26). Jones in the interview said, "In a competitive situation, we'll be fine. I'm not saying the ball won't hit sometimes up there, but it should be fine." Jones added of the benefits of the video board, "We have an opportunity, and it's recognized league wide, there's never been a center-hung board like this going right down the middle of the field. And so if you just back off and use logic as to what would occur, you've got to put it in position to be seen, you've got to put it in position where it is high enough to take care of most of the activity that goes on. But most people who have ever kicked, could go out there and try to kick it and kick it" (DALLASNEWS.com, 8/25).

NEVER TESTED BY COWBOYS' PUNTER: ESPN's Ed Werder reported while Jones "says that the team carefully researched the issue in advance, Dallas punter Mat McBriar told me he was never taken to the stadium and asked to punt to determine how high the scoreboard needed to be, as the Colts did a year earlier with punter Hunter Smith while building their new facility." McBriar estimated that he could "hit the video board on half his punts if he were trying" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/25). Titans coach and NFL Competition Committee co-Chair Jeff Fisher said, "The ball is going to continue to strike, to hit, the structure, so what do we do about it? It is not a one-time occurrence" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/26).

SHOULD RAISE BE MANDATED? In Ft. Worth, Randy Galloway writes Jones is "totally in the right with this issue." Galloway: "Jerry doesn't want to raise his baby. Period. It will stay at 90 feet unless Goodell orders otherwise. ... I don't see Jerry raising JumboJerry for anyone except Goodell, and you can bet Roger will tread carefully with this" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/26). In DC, Gene Wang writes, "Lay this flap at the feet of the league." If the NFL "mandates Jones raise it, then it should provide for the cost of the project" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/26). But in L.A., Sam Farmer writes, "Why is this even an issue?" Jones needs to "raise the boards, just as he's doing" for the October 12 U2 concert at the stadium. The game "shouldn't have to change for him." The Hartford Courant's Mike Anthony writes as soon as Trapasso's punt hit the screen, Jones and Cowboys officials "should have started on a new blueprint for placement of that monstrosity." The Baltimore Sun's Ken Murray writes the fact Jones has not been ordered to adjust the board yet "shows how powerful" he is, as Bengals President Mike Brown "already would be on the clock." But just because Jones "builds the Taj Mahal of stadiums doesn't mean he can build it to his own specifications" (L.A. TIMES, 8/26). ESPN's Skip Bayless said, "I still have to blame Jerry a little bit here because you spent $1.5(B) on this stadium and you couldn’t do your own homework?" ("ESPN First Take," ESPN2, 8/26). In Philadelphia, Bill Conlin writes, "No matter how your punter is trained to angle kicks away from returners, punting a football is not a precise art and the NFL's 85-foot height guideline for objects that overhang the playing field is not only archaic, it was not designed with a monolith overspreading a 60-yard midsection of turn in mind" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 8/26).

MEDIA FRENZY: SI.com's Peter King wrote, "What's amazing to me, and a sign of the media times, is the amount of coverage this thing has gotten." The N.Y. Times and USA Today both had stories yesterday "all about the height of a videoboard that clearly is going to be fixed before the start of the regular season." King: "It says one thing to me: The NFL is king, and nothing is close for second place" (SI.com, 8/25).

Jones Says He Wants Cowboys Stadium
To Have Architectural Significance
SHINING STAR: Cowboys Stadium was a topic on the debut episode of Versus’ “The Sports Take" yesterday, where host Horrow Sports Ventures CEO Rick Horrow talked to both Jones and HKS Sports & Entertainment Principal Architect Brian Trubey about the facility. Trubey, who designed Cowboys Stadium, said after touring stadiums and important cultural buildings around the world, both HKS and Jones "realized we need to create a building here that was an international-quality destination building that was very important to our culture now in this time, not just a stadium. So that moved us from a $650(M) budget to $1.1(B). But the benefits of that are going to play out over a 50-year period." Jones: “We want this building to be more than a stadium. We want it to really have some architectural significance. We want this building to say media and technology." Jones added he hopes the stadium, “in its own little way, is a little engine of some kind of stimulus program" for the economy ("The Sports Take," Versus, 8/25). In Ft. Worth, Mitchell Schnurman writes Cowboys Stadium "has become a hit overnight," and Arlington's profile will "never be the same." The stadium is "bringing in big crowds and revenue and a surprising number of top-shelf events," and it is "giving a new sense of place and pride to a city that needed both." Schnurman: "Any questions now about why the public shelled out for the Cowboys?" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/26).

SEEKING DAMAGES: In Dallas, Brooks Egerton reports Cowboys scouting assistant Rich Behm and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis filed separate lawsuits yesterday in Dallas County courts against several companies involved in building the team's indoor practice facility, which collapsed on May 2. The accident paralyzed Behm and broke DeCamillis' neck. Both the Cowboys and the city of Irving are "not named as defendants in the suits," which seek unspecified damages (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/26).

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