Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys Stadium

The 50th anniversary of the Academy of Country Music Awards will be held at AT&T Stadium, an announcement that gave Jerry Jones yet another opportunity to boast about his $1.2 billion palace.

It also gave Jones another opportunity to make a puzzling comment that could cause folks to wonder about the priorities for a marketing genius who moonlights as the Dallas Cowboys' general manager.

"As you know, the Cowboys have not gone to the playoffs in several years," Jerry said during a press conference at the ACM Awards in Encino, Calif., this weekend. "We have not gone, yet we are the most popular TV show on television. We lead all teams in TV ratings. Twenty-four of the top 25 shows were all NFL games, and any time the Cowboys play, they're up there at the top and leading.

"Well, what causes that? What causes that is creating tomorrow, creating some excitement. We want to use that as best we can to make this awards show the greatest ever."

There's no question that JerryWorld will be a phenomenal venue for a big ol' country music shindig.

It's just disturbing, if not surprising, to hear an NFL GM bragging about his team's television ratings despite a prolonged run of on-field mediocrity. Only with the Cowboys.

Even by Jerry standards, it's a ridiculous stretch to believe that the Cowboys' popularity is about "creating tomorrow." The reality is it's all about living off the franchise's proud past, as the GM with the best job security in sports has been doing for almost two decades.

Cowboys Stadium turf gets face-lift

June, 11, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- If the Cowboys wanted to get out of the heat for their three-day minicamp that starts Tuesday, they would not be able to use Cowboys Stadium.

The team is replacing the field at the stadium because of wear and tear since the $1.2 billion stadium opened in 2009. With the number of events at Cowboys Stadium and the times the field has been rolled up and stored, it was beginning to fray in areas.

While the artificial turf that is used and how it is stored will continue to be handled the same way, how it is being assembled will change in hopes for a longer shelf life. The old field was put together with a series of patches required for all the markings on the field. With the new field, a hole will be trimmed to the base of the field and the section will be glued, mostly eliminating the seams.

The Cowboys will look to replace their college and high school field in the future but nothing has been finalized.

The team has talked about using the old turf to create a third field at the Valley Ranch practice facility but is somewhat hesitant about that because of the uncertain future there. The Cowboys have had discussions about moving their training complex to Frisco, Arlington or a different venue in Irving.
IRVING, Texas -- As Cowboys Stadium nears its fourth birthday at the end of the month, owner and general manager Jerry Jones is in no rush to finally have a naming rights deal.

Nate Newton joins Galloway & Company to discuss the latest news from the Cowboys' rookie minicamp.

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“I’ve always known that it will fit when it fits,” Jones said.

San Francisco reached a 20-year, $220 million naming rights deal to call its new home Levi’s Stadium earlier this week.

Ford, Miller, Pepsi and AT&T have big sponsorship deals within Cowboys Stadium. Jones said the team continues to have discussions with companies, but he does not sound in a hurry.

“It’s very important to us to have the quality and the kind of cache I’m talking about with the company we’d associate with,” Jones said. “I’m pretty proud of the Cowboys, as you know. I’ve got a pretty high bar standard of who we would want to be almost associated with for the rest of time.”
IRVING, Texas – Thanks to a 20-year deal for $220 million, San Francisco’s new home will be called Levi’s Stadium.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett discuss the latest Cowboys news, including DeMarco Murray's running style, Miles Austin's new exercise routine and Jason Hatcher's confidence in the defensive line.

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By the end of the month, Cowboys Stadium will turn 4 and it has yet to be given a corporate name.

Since taking over the Dallas Cowboys, owner and general manager Jerry Jones has monetized just about everything surrounding his organization. However, the item that could bring Jones the most money is still for sale: naming rights.

But does it matter?

The franchise was recently valued at $2.1 billion, according to Forbes Magazine's rankings. What the Cowboys take in from sponsors like Ford, AT&T, Miller and Pepsi is most likely worth more than most stadium naming rights’ deals.

There’s a cache to Cowboys Stadium now. The same way there is a cache to Yankee Stadium.

Cowboys Stadium is a destination spot. The first college football national championship game will be played there in 2015. The NCAA Final Four will be there next March. It has hosted one Super Bowl and will receive others. The Cotton Bowl calls the stadium home. Major college football games come to the stadium each year. So do major international soccer games. The NBA All-Star Game was played there, setting an attendance record.

Could a sponsor’s name one day come to Cowboys Stadium? Sure, but the longer it goes, the more Cowboys Stadium gets seared into the brain to the point where a corporate name might not matter.

Here’s what Jones had to say about naming rights in 2011 after AEG and Farmer’s Insurance entered into a massive agreement for a proposed stadium that appears to likely never be built:

“I have always said that unless we are ready in the right way with the right partner, then Cowboys Stadium is the way we want it. Never had naming rights on Texas Stadium either, because I wanted the focus to be more on the Cowboys and the team. ... I must say to you that I feel good that our stadium and the comments that will be made about the stadium, the visual images of the stadium, that it will be referred to as Cowboys Stadium.”

Cowboys weighing Valley Ranch longevity

February, 26, 2013
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys moved into their Valley Ranch practice facility in 1985, but like anything, age, size and technology are catching up to it.

Ed Werder joins Richard Durrett and Ian Fitzsimmons to discuss what he took away from the NFL combine and his conversation with Jerry Jones on the penthouse bus.

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While the Cowboys are not actively looking to leave their practice home, it is a subject that has been broached.

“We’re always eyes wide open,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. “We’re having to do renovations out there. You never know for sure, but I’d still say right now Valley Ranch is where we are.”

Cowboys Stadium was not designed to include the possibility of moving the football operations to Arlington, but building a facility near the stadium is an option, like what the New York Giants have next to MetLife Stadium.

Over the last few years the Cowboys have looked at other team’s facilities, like in Denver and Seattle, when they have played there.

While Valley Ranch is functional, it does not have amenities that most teams have now at the newer facilities, such as a full kitchen. The Cowboys currently cater food for the players and staff.

“You’re always looking to see what people have,” Jones said. “At some point you’d have to take a look.”
IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys will move their practice to Arlington today because of the Christmas Day snow and ice as they begin preparation for Sunday’s game at Washington.

Coach Jason Garrett said he would have preferred to practice at Valley Ranch, but the Cowboys did not have the necessary equipment to clear the field.

“It’s just not functional,” Garrett said. “It’s a sheet of ice.”

It is the first practice this season they will hold at Cowboys Stadium and the second they have had to move this season because of the weather. Last Thursday’s practice was moved to Highland Park High School because of high winds, and the stadium was not available because of high school championship games.

Temperatures for Sunday’s game at kickoff are expected to be in the low 30s.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to go play the Redskins,” Garrett said. “The players hear me say this a lot: Regardless where you play or who you’re playing against, you have to be your best. We’ll try to do that. We’ll try to do our best in our preparation. We’re going to practice in our stadium today and hopefully be able to practice on our field tomorrow.”
IRVING, Texas -- Wherever the Cowboys travel their following is always there, even in New York, Philadelphia and Washington.

ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen comments on the national perception of the Dallas Cowboys.

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In the 2005 season opener at San Diego, Cowboys’ fans were so loud the Chargers had to use a silent count late in the game.

On Monday, Cowboys Stadium was hardly a home-field advantage. Of the 90,080 on hand, a number of them were Chicago fans and let their presence be known. As one “Let’s go Bears” chant broke out late, linebacker Brian Urlacher was seen mouthing, “Wow.”

“Last time we came down here, there’s nothing like hearing the “Let’s go Bears,” chant early and throughout the game,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said after the game. “I thought our fans were outstanding. The Chicago Bear colors were all around, they really were. I’m glad we are able to give our loyal fans that type of effort.”

Jason Garrett was asked about how loud the Bears fans were on Tuesday.

“Oh, the Bears have a great national following,” Garrett said. “They’ve had it for a long, long time, so that doesn’t surprise us. And certainly the way the game went, we gave them some reasons to get fired up. That’s just the nature of it. The Chicago people love their Bears. They have for a long, long time.”

Another visitor to Cowboys Stadium has a great national following, too. Pittsburgh visits Dec. 13. The last time the Steelers came to the area in 2004, Terrible Towels overran Texas Stadium. Cowboys Stadium could be more of the same.

After a 6-2 record to open the $1.2 billion stadium in 2009, the Cowboys have a 7-10 home record.

Roof, doors open at Cowboys Stadium

October, 1, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The roof and doors will be open at Cowboys Stadium for tonight’s game against Chicago.

The Cowboys are 1-3 with the stadium configured that way with the only win coming against Oakland, 24-7, on Thanksgiving in 2009. The Cowboys lost their 2009 home opener to the New York Giants, 33-31, and to San Diego, 20-17, on Dec. 13, 2009.

The Cowboys lost their only Monday Night Football contest with the roof and doors open on Oct. 25, 2010, to the Giants, 41-35.

Some might remember that game as the one in which Tony Romo suffered a broken collarbone and would not play again that season.

Live in-game chat: Cowboys-Dolphins

August, 29, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys wrap up the preseason and prepare for final cuts with a Wednesday night date against the Dolphins.

Fire away with questions. The ESPN Dallas crew will jump in from Cowboys Stadium at around 7 p.m., with kickoff scheduled for a half hour later.

Cowboys Stadium boxing plan called off

May, 22, 2012
For months, Top Rank talked about putting on a July 14 pay-per-view card at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, but now it looks like the talk is over and there won't be a show.

Originally, Top Rank's Bob Arum said the card would be headlined by Mexican star Juan Manuel Marquez, who won an interim junior welterweight belt in April, and that junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire would fight in the co-feature.

Then Arum said Donaire wouldn't be on the card because the company would give him his own date (probably June 30 on HBO). Even without Donaire, Marquez would still headline, Arum said. But no deal had been finalized with a television company to distribute the event and Marquez had no opponent.

Top Rank was talking to HBO about working on the show, and Top Rank certainly could have done it on its own, but time is running short to mount a legitimate pay-per-view promotion.

Then came the usual steady stream of discussion about whom Marquez would fight. Junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson was originally mentioned, but he instead accepted a rematch with Amir Khan (which was supposed to have taken place last Saturday but was canceled when Peterson tested positive for a synthetic testosterone).

Other names were mentioned for Marquez: fellow Mexican star and future Hall of Famer Erik Morales (a fight I've wanted to see for about a decade), former titlist Zab Judah, former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios (coming off a gift decision against Richard Abril that most sane people thought was a very obvious Abril victory) and the utterly unknown Mercito Gesta, a talented Filipino lightweight who is, alas, nowhere near ready to face a fighter of Marquez's caliber.

In the end, after all the talk, Top Rank pulled the plug on the event Monday because Marquez elected not to fight on the pay-per-view. From what I hear from those around Marquez, the financial package wasn't to Marquez's liking. Plus, he didn't want to fight Rios, the opponent Top Rank wanted him to face.

Marquez had previously said he preferred a southpaw opponent (Judah and Gesta would have fit) in anticipation of a possible fourth fight with Manny Pacquiao, a left-hander, in the fall.

Now Marquez might instead wait to see what happens in the June 9 Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. fight. If Pacquiao wins, Marquez figures to be at the top of the list for Pacquiao's November opponent.

Arum had been in talks with Main Events' Kathy Duva about a Marquez-Judah fight, but according to Duva, Arum told her Monday that "Marquez has decided not to fight at all in July."

Zanfer Promotions, which has a promotional contract with Marquez but works closely with Top Rank, said it is possible Marquez could still fight this summer -- but in Mexico on July 21 or July 28, likely against a lesser opponent.

What Went Wrong: Fourth-quarter collapses

January, 5, 2012
This is the third installment in ESPN Dallas' five-part series on things that went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011.

No. 3: Losing five fourth-quarter leads

It's amazing when you think about how this Cowboys season started -- a 27-24 loss to the New York Jets, and how it would set the tone for 2011. When the season was over, the Cowboys suffered eight total losses, but five came when they blew fourth-quarter leads.


Quarterback Tony Romo cost the team two games with fourth-quarter turnovers vs. the Jets. His interceptions helped the Detroit Lions rally from a 24-point deficit.

Rob Ryan's defense failed to contain Tom Brady and the Patriots, and the loss to the Arizona Cardinals might have been the worst.

Driving for a potential game-winning field goal, coach Jason Garrett mismanaged the game-clock and -- in a roundabout way -- iced his own kicker, Dan Bailey, by calling a timeout in the closing seconds of the play clock. Bailey would miss a 49-yarder, and Arizona went on to win, 19-13, in overtime.

Said outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware about that loss: "You just had a loss, [so] what are you going to do about it? The good teams, they come back from a tough loss like that and you really see the true team spirit and how teams come back from adversity. That really tells you the type of character we have on this team. We’re going to see that this week."

So what happened the following week? Against the New York Giants -- with a chance to put a stranglehold on the NFC East -- the Cowboys took a 34-22 lead with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter and went on to lose, 37-34.

At worse, if Dallas defeated Arizona, the odds of a getting wild-card berth and a division title would've been greater. But the loss all but kept Dallas out of the wild-card chase and put them in a winner-take-all game against the Giants in the regular-season finale.

When the season was over, Ware found out what type of team he's playing on: One that doesn't finish games.

Cowboys Stadium average: 85,011

December, 25, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- The attendance drop at Cowboys Stadium became official on Saturday when the announced attendance was 84,834 to see the Cowboys play Philadelphia in what turned out to be a meaningless game.

In eight regular-season games, the Cowboys drew 680,087 fans, good for an average of 85,011. In the first year of the $1.2 billion stadium, 2009, the Cowboys averaged 89,757. In 2010, with a 6-10 team, the Cowboys averaged 87,047.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones was not concerned about the turnout Saturday.

“Well, we knew this game all year was one of our more challenging times,” Jones said. “Of course, the interest in this game perked that interest. We actually ended up with greater distributed tickets than I would have ever thought six weeks ago. I’m pretty pleased with the attendance in distributed tickets that we had here. I don’t have the exact number, but we approached 10,000 party passes for this game. When you think about it on Christmas Eve, that’s pretty good with the interest in this game.”

With a win next week at the New York Giants, the Cowboys will host their second playoff game at Cowboys Stadium. The first drew 92,951 for the wild-card win against the Eagles on Jan. 9, 2010.

In 2009, the Cowboys had four crowds of at least 90,000 (and two at more than 100,000). In 2010, they had three crowds of 90,000-plus. In 2011, they had one game with more than 90,000 with 92,952 on hand to see a 37-34 loss to the Giants on Dec. 11.

XLV fiasco not on agenda at owner's meetings

December, 14, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- The NFL Owners meetings concluded Wednesday at Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas, but the seating fiasco that occurred at Super Bowl XLV was not included on the agenda.

Roughly 1,250 fans with tickets were left without seats because the temporary seating was not cleared before kickoff, which resulted in a suit being brought against the league.

“We continue to work through the issues we had here last year, mostly looking forward and trying to make sure when we stage events as the NFL, we do it with a high standard and that fans that attend our game have a great experience,” commissioner Roger Goodell said. “That’s what people expect from the NFL and that’s what we expect from ourselves. We expect to deliver on that promise, starting with Indianapolis.”

The earliest a Super Bowl could return to North Texas would be 2016 for Super Bowl L. The bidding process takes place next May. Goodell has said in the past that Super Bowl L could be held at a new stadium in Los Angeles to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first game, which was played at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

“That’s for the ownership to decide,” Goodell said on the possibility of the game returning. “It’s a great stadium. It’s a great community. I presume they’ll make a bid in the future, and ownership will decide at that point.”
Wednesday's practice will be held at Cowboys Stadium because of rain at the team's Valley Ranch facility.

This provided a unique marketing opportunity for the franchise, which promoted its stadium tours on the official Cowboys Stadium Twitter account Wednesday morning.

"Come out to visit me today with a tour and get a SPECIAL BONUS! Watch my Boys practice!! Starts at 11:45!" the tweet read.

An enterprising person might be able to get the Patriots to pick up the tab for the tour.

It's not Tony Romo's fault

October, 3, 2011

Bill Barnwell of Grantland writes this morning you can't blame quarterback Tony Romo for the Cowboys 34-30 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Romo threw three second half interceptions that resulted in 21 points for the Lions and helped fuel their comeback.

Writes Barnwell: "Let's start with the idea that Romo somehow gifted the Lions 14 points by having two of his three interceptions returned for touchdowns. Go watch those plays again. It's one thing when a quarterback makes a terrible throw to the sideline and it gets jumped by an eager defender. That's a throw that invites a pick-six. The two interceptions that were returned for scores were both disappointing throws, but neither of them were totally on Romo."

It's not about finding fault in the interceptions, it's the decision making that bothers you with Romo. Of course, a pick-six can be attributed to any number of people, but offensive players, specifically wide receivers and running backs, are not taught to tackle. They are taught to avoid tacklers. Quarterbacks, in some cases, elude defensive players during returns to prevent getting hurt by a big hit. Offensive linemen, in some cases, are not athletic or fast enough to chase down a defensive back. Maybe a linebacker.

Romo's inability to protect the ball, something that is preached to him by coach Jason Garrett, is the issue here. Garrett is not a big stat guy, yet, he tells his team the opponents with the fewest turnovers win games.

Sunday afternoon the Cowboys had three turnovers and lost the game.

"The biggest thing we have to do in the ballgame is keep coaching and keep playing," Garrett said after the loss. "You can't do the things that allow you to lose a game like this. Again, I'm talking about the turnovers more than anything else. Then, within the game, you've got to keep looking for answers."

The answer is to stop committing turnovers. And on Sunday Romo didn't do that.