|Well okay - the Boyz may not be playing in the first ever Dallas-area Super Bowl this year, in spite of all our high hopes, but there's no denying the Super Bowl - any Super Bowl - is one major attraction, and you can bet the world's eyes will be on the Metroplex this year when Super Bowl XLV gets underway Feb. 6 in Arlington.
While at this writing the teams are still to be determined (either the Jets or Steelers against either the Bears or the Packers), Cowboy's Stadium promises to provide the most modern, high technology facility ever used for the "game of champions", and a whole lot of Texans plan on being on-hand for the historic event.
Constructed at a cost of well over $1 billion, the home of the Dallas Cowboys is perhaps the most extravagant sports venue on the planet, so it certainly makes sense for the world’s biggest sporting event to be played there. This Super Bowl is destined to set an all-time attendance record as the stadium can hold over 100,000 fans, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to find Super Bowl tickets. In fact, this might be the toughest Super Bowl ticket ever, especially this late in the game. And the price tag - well, let's just say three weeks out end zone upper deck tickets were selling for as much as $2,800 - and 25 yard line seats were selling for nearly $4,000.
But, according to the Cowboy's Web sites, you won't find a better stadium to host American football any where else in the world. Here are some Web site facts about the stadium:
One of the great assets Arlington has is accessibility to the entire Metroplex. There will be 14 approaches from major highways into the new stadium in Arlington, compared to three at Texas Stadium.
The stadium seats more than 90,000, but can comfortably accommodate 100,000 thanks to fan-friendly, standing-room-only spaces on the 10 levels of the facility. The largest attendance for a Super Bowl was Super Bowl XIV in Pasadena (103,985).
The stadium has over 300 luxury suites — the most of any stadium in the NFL.
The stadium has a retractable roof, guaranteeing weather won’t be an issue on gameday — a vital asset to make sure that the head-to-head competition decides the outcome of the game, instead of the weather. The retractable roof is the world’s largest at 660,800 square feet, yet takes a mere 12 minutes to open or close. The roof is supported by two steel arched trusses that run beyond the expanse of the stadium and rise 292 feet above field level at their apex.
There are several video boards in the stadium. The most unique of these is the four-board cluster that is suspended 90 feet directly over the center of the playing surface. The board, a high-definition, 1080p screen built by Mitsubishi, runs from the 20-yard line to the 20-yard line (measuring 160 feet in length and 70 feet in height), making it the largest video board installation in the world. The video center allows fans on all levels to view the game in crisp, clear images during the game. This creates a premium on the value of the upper-level seats and makes the game more exciting for all fans. Overall, 2,900 television flat-screens are located throughout the facility.
End Zone Glass Doors
The stadium has the world’s largest retractable end zone doors, each consisting of five glass panels, 129 feet high by 180 feet wide, that open or close in 18 minutes. Approximately 60% of gameday spectators enter the stadium through these enormous openings. When the doors are open, there is 210,000 square feet of standing room available for spectators in the end zone plazas.
When building the stadium, the Jones family made it a point to incorporate contemporary art into the architecture of the new facility, which is unprecedented. There are 18 major works of art on display in the stadium and throughout the 2009 season, the gameday programs highlighted one or two artists and their art each week.
Ring of Honor
Besides the open-roof concept that Jones brought to the new stadium from Texas Stadium, the Cowboys traditional Ring of Honor was also transplanted to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. This franchise hall of fame honors the great players, coaches, and other officials with substantial contributions to the Cowboys franchise. The Ring of Honor currently has 17 honorees.
MORE STADIUM FACTS AND FUGURES
TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE: 3 million square feet. The entire Statue of Liberty and its base could fit into the stadium with the roof closed. The stadium is also the world’s largest column-free room. The American Airlines Center in Dallas could fit entirely into the new stadium at field level.
INTERIOR CUBIC VOLUME: 104 million cubic feet. (By comparison, Reliant Stadium in Houston measures 90 million cubic feet.) The Dallas Cowboys stadium is the largest enclosed stadium (in cubic feet) in the NFL.
SUITES: There are 300 suites in eight different locations on five separate levels of the stadium. Field-level suites are available on the sidelines as well as in the end zone for up-close and personal viewing of the games. The Hall of Fame-level suites are 20 rows from the field, making them the closest in the NFL.
DOMED ROOF: At 660,800 square feet, the stadium is the largest domed structure in the world.
RETRACTABLE ROOF: The open roof design that was a unique feature of Texas Stadium was carried over into the design of the new stadium, with the improvement of a new retractable feature, revealing an opening that measures 256 feet wide and 410 feet long. Two bi-parting mechanized roof panels – each measuring 63,000 square feet – are driven by a rack-and-pinion drive system consisting of 64 7.5 HP electric motors, making it the first of its kind in the world. The open/close time is 12 minutes.
ARCHES: The roof is supported by two 35-foot deep and 15-foot wide boxed arch trusses. Each truss spans 1,290 feet – nearly a quarter mile – making the roof the longest clear-span structure in the world. The arches are more than twice the length of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
GLASS RETRACTABLE DOOR: Each end zone features a five-leaf clear glass retractable door measuring 120 feet high and 180 feet wide, making it the tallest moveable glass wall in the world.
AREA LODGING INFORMATION
As of this writting, there are still rooms available at many hotels and lodging failities around the Metroplex. But once again, if you snooze, you lose. The best rooms and the best facilities will sell out long before Super Bowl weekend, so don't hesitate to make plans now.
DFW Aiport and Love Field in Dallas will be busy places Super Bowl week, and airline seats will be hard to get beginning yesterday! Once again, the early bird gets the worm - in this case, the seat.
There are a lot of ticket agencies/reps out there, but right now, we recommend checking with the individual airlines. A reputable ticketing agency though is:
RENTAL CARS/TAXI SERVICE
In spite of many major car rental companies bringing in truckloads of extra vehicles, and in spite of every taxi in the Metroplex working overtime during the big event, we recommend that you pay special attention to securing ground transportation as much in advance as possible. If you're renting a car, you might want to check with cities and towns surrounding the Metroplex if you hope to find an available renntal this late in the game. Also be aware that Super Bowl events, regardless where they are being staged, are full of scam artists ready to sell you everything from fake game and airline tickets, to just about everything else imaginable. Guard yourself and deal with only reputable firms. If in doubt, use your better judgement.
You can bet the entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex will be a curcus the day of the game and at least a week leading up to it. Allow extra time for travel, ground transportation, restaurant and attraction attendence/use, and even going to the bathroom. Our advice is start early -- extra early -- and be patient. Check out parking requirements and availability well in advance, and keep up with traffic reports.
HOW MUCH WILL YOU SPEND?
It will vary greatlky, of course, but you had better have a high limit on your credit card, and don't carry a lot of cash! We can't seem to find the average daily traveler's cost for Super Bowl attendance, but we do know that Super Bowl 44 week, over $55 million dollars were spent at area restaurants alone. There is no such thing as a budget Super Bowl trip. So dig deep and expect to spend a lot more than you budget for the event. Hey - it is the most important game of the year!