- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Cowboys Stadium, widely known around these parts as JerryWorld, is the NFL's most impressive architectural and technological marvel.
But it is definitely not an intimidating place for opponents.
That's been apparent since the New York Giants put their signature on the building (literally) the night of the stadium's grand opening. After the Giants' victory, quarterback Eli Manning autographed the wall of the visitors' locker room.
Manning says he simply granted the request of a locker room attendant, but of course the signature storyline got twisted into bulletin board material. Not that it mattered. The Giants have yet to lose in the Cowboys' decadent digs.
Hey, give Jerry Jones high marks for his hospitality.
The Cowboys sure were great hosts to the thousands and thousands of Chicago Bears fans who came to town for the recent Monday night game. The Bears backers made themselves at home so comfortably that several players mentioned they felt as if they were playing at Soldier Field.
Those folks had a grand ol' time while the Bears were blowing out the Cowboys and at the postgame concert in a stadium plaza. Wasn't it nice of Jerry to give his guests a good spot to keep the party going?
Make no mistake, the party is the priority at Jerry's $1.2 billion football palace. It's a bonus that the Cowboys have won the majority of their regular-season home games at the place -- just barely (14-12) -- and a wild-card contest.
Want (80) proof? The Cowboys enter and exit the field through a bar filled with fans.
The Cowboys actually sell tickets called Party Passes. Those are for the standing-room-only plazas above the lower bowl behind both end zones. Jones' vision for those areas was a scene similar to the pavilions at golf tournaments, where the social scene is often as important as the actual sporting event.
Ticket-buying Cowboys fans have long had a rep as a wine-and-cheese crowd. That's been enhanced by all the electronic stimulation and escalating ticket prices at JerryWorld, where a lot of fans basically added another mortgage to buy personal seat licenses just for the right to buy tickets that are among the highest priced in the NFL.
A lot of times, it's like watching a football game in the world's biggest movie theater, with fans mesmerized by the 60-yard big screen instead of following Football 101 by making noise to help the Dallas defense.
One popular excuse is to blame the acoustics of the enormous stadium for the low decibels, but that's bull. The place gets plenty loud when LSU fans -- whose drinks tend to be much stronger than wine -- have invaded.
The costs for Cowboys season tickets are so outrageous that it's hard to blame fans for cashing in on the secondary market a couple of times per season. The Bears coming to town was a chance to flip tickets for a heck of a profit. The same will be true when the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Cowboys in December, which is why you can bank on seeing a sea of Terrible Towels in the stands that day.
Those Steelers fans could at least thank Jerry for being such a gracious host by stopping by his new lingerie store on the way out of the stadium.
Let's face it, no stadium that sells silk panties will ever be an intimidating place to play.
17hEric D. Williams
2dSharon Katz & Hank Gargiulo