Will Cowboys Stadium be tough place to play?

IRVING, Texas – Before Cowboys Stadium opened in 2009, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he expected the team to play up to the level of the $1.2 billion structure.

After three seasons, the Cowboys have a 13-11 regular-season record in Arlington as they enter Sunday’s home opener against Tampa Bay.

Jones is still waiting.

The Cowboys have beaten one eventual playoff team at home in the first three seasons (Philadelphia, 2009) and seven of their 11 losses have come against postseason teams (San Diego, 2009; Chicago, 2010; New Orleans, 2010; Philadelphia, 2010; Detroit, 2011; New York Giants 2011).

“We think it’s real important to win your home games,” said coach Jason Garrett, who has a 7-5 mark as the team’s head coach at home. “It should be a friendly environment to you, and we talk a lot about the hostile environments we had to face the first couple of weeks up in New York and going to Seattle. There should be a flip side to that where you feel better about yourself playing at home.

"At the end of the day though, the Tampa Bay Bucs are coming in here and we’re going to have a three-hour football game. Whether we play them at our place, their place, on the moon or the parking lot, we just have to get ready to play a football game. We emphasize that to the team all the time. We don’t talk a lot about streaks. We talk a lot about the now and if you take care of the now over and over and over again you typically get on a pretty good streak.”

With crowds ranging from 80,000-105,000, Cowboys Stadium is not considered a loud or difficult venue to play in as evidenced by the 13-11 record.

Players, like Brandon Carr, said the team has to give the fans something to cheer about.

“I think the crowd’s been great,” linebacker Sean Lee said. “If we come up with some more wins and more plays, the better it will be. The crowd support has been tremendous. We’ve got to continue to improve our home identity.”