Sunday, May 30, 2010


The New Cowboys Stadium and its Foundation

This week my travels were both scheduled and unscheduled. Some of the unscheduled part included an opportunity to visit the new home of the Dallas Cowboys.

I found the stadium to be symbolic of modern professional football itself, big, brash, and brutal; a stark vehicle of pure merchandising. This building left Roadboy almost completely at a loss for words.

Cowboy Stadium

Before entering the structure we were regaled with all the usual facts and figures. It is bigger than huge. The steel in it could build many golden gate bridges. The conduit used in it could loop the world over and over and still reach the moon. Heck, it could seat the entire population of most cities in the US at a single time.

Perfect Sight Lines From Anywhere
Private Boxes and Lounges Everywhere

Yep This is "Their" Locker Room

After all the hoopla of the place, I found myself having to admit that while it is one of the most technically perfect built structures in the world, the new stadium is totally vacuous. It, like much of modern architecture itself, is simply devoid of soul.

The Huge Jumbo Tron
Most Spectators Watch it - Not the Actual Game
(Click it to see the Board in Action)

So, I found myself feeling sort of empty. I had just walked through a building that represents an enormous achievement, yet I kept thinking "but why was so much effort put into this?".

Then as I left, off to one side of the entry, it all became clear. There was a humble statue of Coach Tom Landry. It had been relocated from the old (now imploded) Texas Stadium (we used to call the "Half Asstrodome"!) to the new stadium.

The statue reminded me that it is not the current owner's power and money that built the Cowboys, no it was Coach Landry and the amazing string of players he nurtured that form the true foundation of this new stadium.

Landry was from the "Best Generation". A boy from Mission Texas who played high school football, then went on to UT only to have his studies interrupted by World War 2.

During the war he flew 30 B-17 bomber missions over Europe. He survived the crash of one of the flights in Belgium.

He then returned to Texas and completed his degree in Industrial Engineering.

He, himself, went on to play professional football becoming an All-Pro cornerback in New York. Eventually, he found his true calling not in playing football, but in coaching it. He became head coach of the Cowboys and under his tenure the Cowboys won 2 Superbowls and enjoyed 20 consecutive winning seasons. A feat that remains unmatched today.

Coach Landry always innovated. He changed it all up, then stood at the sidelines in his trademark fedora to watch.

He was fired almost immediately after the arrival of the present team owner.

Landry was man enough to cry when he had to tell his team his career with the Cowboys was over.

Coach Tom Landry

So before you enter the new stadium, to witness a building where every single item down to the cupholder is about money, licensed and paid for, please take a moment to look at the sculpture of Coach Landry.

He represents what the game was, and should be, instead of what it has become.

Roadboy's Travels © 2010

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