Several months ago, my uncle (my mother's brother) invited my family to Texas for a secret event. We had no idea what to expect except that we were instructed to be in Dallas by Sunday the 12th. Naturally, rumors as to what the event could be spread like wildfire through my immediate family and our cousins. As the date of the event drew closer, I suggested that the event could be something related to sports. I was shouted down initially, but upon further review and research, it was revealed that the Dallas Cowboys played the Philadelphia Eagles that Sunday at the new Dallas Stadium. I'm glad to say I was proved right.
The day of the game, I flew from Boston to Dallas and was picked up by my aunt and her boys from the airport. I landed around 2:30 p.m. Texas time and was promptly dropped off at my uncle's house, along with the boys, so that we could watch the Patriots-Bears game which came on at 3:15 p.m. My cousins and I watched the 3:15 game together for about 25 minutes before they got up and left. Since they are from Chicago, they did not appreciate the beat down being administered by the Patriots. I loved every moment of it until CBS stopped showing the game in the third quarter because it was so one-sided.
A few hours later, the entire group of family and friends headed out to the football stadium to watch the Cowboys-Eagles game. To say I was excited doesn't do my feelings justice. I was beyond excited. I couldn't sit still in the ten minute car ride to the stadium and I couldn't stop grinning.
Being in the stadium reminded me of being in a large mall. There were "stores" on each level, each selling various types of Dallas apparel and what felt like several hundred food vendors sprinkled liberally on each level. People milled around the numerous lobbies trying to figure out the quickest way to their sits or just taking in the larger than life "Gigantic Mega-Jumbotron." This thing has to be seen. Sure, the many shots of it during games and photos online show it's big. But in person, it's bigger. Trust me. A friend of mine joked that even if you have tickets on the 50-yard-line in the first section, you'd still stare up at the Gigantic Mega-Jumbotron screen to watch the game instead of looking at the action in front of you.
I watched the game from one of the suites that makes up a ring that runs around the field about 200 feet above the field of play. The ring of suites acts as a divider between the lower deck seating and the upper deck seating. The suites are equipped with movie theater style seating as well as some bar stools, chairs and tables as well as a sitting area with couches. I counted four flat screen TVs in the suite so that no matter where you were in the suite, you could watch the game.
The new Cowboys stadium has some interesting features. One of which is that both teams enter the field by walking through field-level bars on opposite sides of the field. If you're in the bar area, you can watch the players run through. It's pretty cool. My uncle, two cousin, my girlfriend and I rushed downstairs on the Eagles side of the field to watch them pass through the bar.
It's a little blurry but you can see the entire Eagles team run out to the field. Mike Vick is much shorter than I thought and Andy Reid is a lot bigger than I thought.
We spent the National Anthem in the field-level bar behind the Eagles bench. It was cool being with 20 feet of Eagles players as they stalked up and down the bench area psyching themselves up for the pending game. Vick was seated just outside of the photo on the left on one of the trainer's tables getting stretched out. Despite taking some big hits, he had a decent game. I think everyone has been impressed by his comeback this season. As it turned out, the Cowboys were honoring several past Cowboy teams which included Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Cheerleaders have never been a thing for me, but I can admit that, up close, they are quite attractive and tall. Really tall. After the Nation Anthem, we headed back up to the suite for kickoff. I hadn't realized how far we had walked around the stadium until we attempted to get back to the suite.
The Eagles' bench and field-level bar is on the opposite side of the stadium from the suite and several floor below it. We thought we found a short cut when we happened upon an elevator that went up to the ring of suites, but while the ring appears to encircle the field, access to the ring is split. Our suite was on the Cowboys side of the field and therefore we couldn't just walk around the ring to reach our suite. Instead, we took the elevator back down to the mezzanine level and walk around the stadium to the Cowboys side and then take another elevator up the ring of suites. During the walk, we passed sections of "Standing Room Only" area. Tickets for those spots are $30 a piece! I won't lie, I would pay $30 to "stand" in the Cowboys stadium. With the Mega-Jumbotron and the layout of the "Standing Room Only" areas, there is not bad view.
Even though Dallas lost the game, being in the stadium was much more of a treat than anything else. Since I'm moving to the area soon, I'm looking forward to going back. Hell, the way the Patriots are playing, I might get a chance to be there in February!