In Dallas, No Style Points for Hitting the Big Screen

Everything is big in Texas, right?

So it shouldn’t surprise you that the new $1.15 billion stadium for the Dallas Cowboys would have a gianormous 160-foot long video scoreboard (a 600-ton Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision System) that just so happens to hangs 90 feet directly over the center of the new field (clearing the league standard by 5 feet).

In fact, you may have heard that in the first pre-season game at the stadium, the Tennessee Titan punter hit that very video scoreboard and caused quite an outcry.

Per a story posted at ESPN, the NFL responded by making a ruling that covers this season only:

  • If a football hits that massive scoreboard, the down will be replayed and clock will be reset.
  • If the video board comes into play, the replay official will have the power to institute a booth review without a coach’s challenge, even if it isn’t in the final two minutes of a half. Coaches, however, can also throw a red flag to challenge on close plays.

Cowboy’s owner, Jerry Jones was quoted saying, “You can anticipate the ball hitting the board from time to time. There’s no reason why this can’t be something [for punters] to deal with very similar to the way you’d deal with the wind in your face or with elements– rain, sleet or snow.”

Apparently, it took a year to install that HDTV scoreboard at a cost of $40 million, so it is understandable why Jones isn’t eager to move it anytime soon. However, there was word that it will be moved for a U2 concert in October.

Never mind interrupting the game, how will something of that size impact the viewing experience of the fans in the stadium?

Oh… in case you were wondering, that video scoreboard carries over 30 million light bulbs. Sounds to me like Jones will have equally gianormous electricity bills.

[Source: ESPN]

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal had a write-up about the new stadium that offered some insight into Jerry Jones’ thinking behind that ginormous  scoreboard:

Mr. Jones said he wanted the experience of watching the game on the field and on the screen to be seamless. Unlike most NFL scoreboards, which show mostly replays, the Cowboys’ screen will show the game live, with a dedicated camera crew feeding images to the screen. (The team had to hire its own crew because television networks only shoot the game from one side, meaning the action on the screen would have moved in reverse for fans on one side of the stadium.)

Mr. Jones says he got the idea at a Celine Dion concert in Las Vegas, where images of the singer were projected on a two-story screen. Mr. Jones said he didn’t know what he had seen on the screen and what he had seen on the stage. “All I knew is I had a wonderful experience,” he said.

UPDATE: The New York Times did an article about the stadium leading up to the home opener against the New York Giants.  In the online version, there was a link to a short (1:35) video where architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff assesses the structure’s size and whether it translates into success.


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