ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 21: A general view of the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans during a preseason game at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on August 21, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
When the NFL ruled last week that the Cowboys could keep their ginormous video board where it is in the new Cowboys Stadium, they did so with the explicit condition that they could revisit their decision over the course of the year, and perhaps force the team to raise the board should it become a serious issue.
(Jones) has no intention of raising the video board, nor does he think he should have to do it under any circumstances. And he thinks it's important for the aesthetics of the $1.21-billion stadium, and for the commitment that Jones himself made to build the place, that the video board stay exactly where it is.
"I once heard [former commissioner] Paul Tagliabue make a speech,'' said Jones. "He said at a new stadium, you should be blending the technology with the game and with the stadium experience. That's what I've tried to do here. I've had one league official tell me when he went through the stadium that it's the most dramatic fan experience and use of technology he's seen in 15 years. I spent millions of dollars to do exactly what we're supposed to be doing as owners -- create a fan experience that will keep the fans coming back, because you just can't duplicate this anywhere else. I'm maximizing the stadium experience for fans. And I think I have helped advance the ball for the NFL. Once you accept the concept of this stadium, and you've seen it and really experienced it, then I think we won't have this discussion anymore….
"We designed our stadium knowing exactly the right place to put the videoboard, and we knew what the league rules were, about it having to be at least 85 feet above the field." Jones continued. "We put it 90. And so of course you would be sensitive to any alterations. You make a $1.2-billion investment, and it's ... it's ...
“You want the proper aesthetics, but aesthetics is really not the proper word here. It'd work fine. But 'fine' is the operative word…
"Logic tells you if they punt the way they're supposed to -- '' meaning, off to the sides " -- the ball won't hit the board. It won't be a problem. The board creates something unique. In Green Bay, punters have to account for the snow and the wind. We don't have that…
"I served on the Competition Committee,'' he said, just before I left. "I have tremendous regard for this game. It's my life and my business. But I also know how important it is for us to grow the pie.''
I don't care if 25 punts hit it this fall. Jones will fight to keep the video board right where it is.
One suspects that Jones will go to great lengths to keep that videoboard in place, hiring any number of lawyers and/or trained assassins to keep the league from standing in the way of his Mitsubishi big screen. On a certain level, I sympathize with Jones. When you buy a TV, you want to put it in optimum viewing position. One inch up or down can result in unwanted neck tilting. Women think it’s no big deal. They think the TV should be tucked in the corner behind a flowerpot or something. THEY DON’T GET IT, MAN.
But, in this instance, Jones comes off as rather bratty. He put everything he had into this stadium, and now he’s stomping his feet because people are daring to criticize it in all its perfection. He knows darn well the screen will interfere with more punts. Protecting his precious “aesthetics” is a lame excuse. He just doesn’t want anyone finding fault with his new palace. “IT’S FINE JUST THE WAY IT IS. RESPECT MY VISION! YOU’D UNDERSTAND IF YOU SAW IT AND WERE DRUNK!” The man is in denial.
Make no mistake. As long as that board stays where it is, the issue won’t go away. Jerry Jones should know that, but he’s too blinded by his own giant tribute to himself to see it.