Saturday, January 8, 2011

SuperBowl Stadium Expedition

SUPERBOWL XLV ( is scheduled for the Dallas Cowboys Stadium on Sunday, February 11. (If you are like me, and have forgotten the lesson on Roman numerals, XLV means "45"). The actual location of the stadium is Arlington, Texas, and when I asked the stadium employee I talked to on the phone, "What is the exact street address of the stadium, so that I can enter it into my car's GPS?", the employee told me that there wasn't an exact street address. But, instead, he gave me the street address for the WalMart store, that is across the street from the stadium (You can see the reflection of the WalMart store in the stadium's glass windows, shown in the lower left photo). He said that would be sufficient to get me to the parking lot that I would use to purchase a ticket to tour the stadium. He was right, and I found the very nice WalMart store, without any problems. ( However, I do have a "bone to pick" with WalMart Headquarters at the next stockholder's meeting in Fayetteville: The symbol for the Texas Longhorns was sculpted into the orange-colored brick that made up the walls of the Arlington WalMart store!! As a Razorback alum, I found this a bit offensive. The only remedy for this is for Fayetteville, Arkansas, WalMart stores to have a RAZORBACK sculpted into the RED brick walls of any new stores being built in that city!) Anyway, I guess I am not the only one asking for GPS directions to the stadium, as the stadium's website goes into great detail about using THEIR WEBSITE directions---not your GPS--- to get to your designated parking space for a stadium event (the parking space alone on REGULAR game days STARTS at $40/spot. I can only imagine what the parking costs will be on the day of the Superbowl!) However, the parking fee is probably only a drop in the bucket, compared to what a ticket for the Superbowl costs--- in the unlikely event you were even able to buy one! That is why, even though attending a Superbowl is on my "Bucket List", I decided to settle for taking a tour of the brand new stadium where the Superbowl will be played. And what a magnificent stadium it is!!! It is the world's largest domed stadium AND the world's largest column-free interior. These two world records are made possible by the 300 ft arches that span the length of the dome, and are anchored to the ground at each end. (You can see the outdoor sections of the arches in the top photo of the collage). The stadium was only completed in May of 2009; it seats 80,000, and has a maximum capacity of 110,000, including standing room. What this means is that you can purchase a ticket to an event, with or without, a seat! The tickets, called "Party Pass", are for standing in the open areas behind seats, in each end zone. There are so many video screens located throughout the stadium, that not knowing what is going on down on the field is virtually impossible!

Speaking of video screens, the Dallas Cowboys Stadium holds the Guinness Book of World Records distinction of having the largest video screen in the world! It spans from 20-yard line to 20-yard line! The photo in the upper left corner of this collage may help put its size into perspective: What looks like a tiny white box hanging beneath the video screen, is actually the "employee elevator" used to access the inside of the screen, and is shown in a close-up view on the upper right photo. Our tour guide pointed out an interesting fact about the work area INSIDE the gigantic screen: It does not have a bathroom, even though employees have to be in there for the duration of a game. OOOPPPS! Of course, the omission is understandable, as plumbing for such a bathroom would be almost impossible! The retractable roof of the stadium is shown in the "closed" position on the left photo. The two tiny black dots seen beneath the roof, are the two workers, shown in a close-up photo on the right of the collage. I was pleased (as would be OSHA) to see that the workers had safety harnesses on, since they were working at a height of hundreds of feet!

I would title this collage "Art and Advertising", because no matter where you go in the stadium, you will see plenty of both! The photo of me holding the rookie sign, in the upper right picture, shows the setting for where a tour guest could have their picture made, for purchase at the end of the tour. Note the AT&T logo prominently visible behind me. Likewise, the Ford Motor Company has a HUGE presence within the stadium with new Ford cars literally stacked on top of each other for display beside each end of a lovely fountain in the Party Pass area (center right photo). The top left photo shows a large sculpture which prominently displays the Dr. Pepper logo. But at least one of the logos on display DID show an organization whose goal is to "save", and not to "consume", and that was the Salvation Army logo, shown in the middle left photo. When you have the world's largest domed structure, it makes sense, you're going to have to have some MASSIVE art installations to fill part of those spaces, and the photo on the lower right shows one of those pieces. It is called "Blue Explosion", and fills the wall behind one of the escalators. The photo on the lower left shows an art installation simply titled "Win!" that shows all the words used in the sports world to achieve a winning mind set.

There is a gift shop at the stadium that is open daily, and you do not have to have a tour ticket in order to visit the gift shop. As you can imagine, there were numerous items you could purchase there relating to the Dallas Cowboys logo, as well as the Superbowl XLV logo, as demonstrated by the coffee mugs in the top photo of this collage. The bottom two photos of this collage show the gigantic bronze statue (located outside the stadium near the ticket office) of legendary Coach Tom Landry, who led the Cowboys for twenty consecutive winning seasons. Coach Landry was a leader not only on the field, but off the field as well. He was the "gentle giant" at the Highland Park Methodist Church for 43 years, and for many of those years he taught an adult Sunday School class there, juggling his Sunday morning responsibilities as a Bible teacher, with his Sunday afternoon responsibilities as a football coach. He is quoted as saying "Leadership is the ability to get a person to do what he doesn't want to do, in order to achieve what he wants to achieve . . . it's getting the best out of people." That is a lesson he first probably learned while teaching the writings of Paul, in the seventh chapter of Romans. Tom Landry very successfully applied these Biblical principles to every aspect of his life. What an inspiration to us all! I have highlighted just a few of the things you will see when you take a tour of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. There are also many "behind the scenes" aspects you get to see, including the players' locker room, as well as the locker room of those famous Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and the private sanctuary of the Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones. Also, the tour is very reasonably priced, depending on which tour you are able to take on the day you visit. You can find out more about the experience on the stadium website, . SOoooooo, even though you may not be able to personally be present at the Superbowl game, keep in mind, that you CAN tour the location of that game---nicknamed the "Palace in Dallas", and I would highly recommend it! Miles of smiles! Tricia
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