August 19, 2009
I’m getting a kick out of the sticky wicket Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is facing with his new $1.2 billion football stadium. By all accounts, Jones has built the ultimate football palace – complete with every amenity you can imagine, including the world’s largest video screen.
The $40 million HD screen serves as an amazing centerpiece, hanging directly over the field and stretching an absurd 160′ by 72′.
One little problem with Jones’ larger than life scoreboard: during the stadium’s grand opening, Tennessee Titans punters were routinely booting balls off of it during pregame warm-ups and then hit it again during the game.
Really? With all the planning that went into this project, the fact that nobody thought to have a couple punters head down to the field for a dry run is preposterous.
Jones immediately accused the Titans punters of trying to hit it on purpose. Well, if they did intend to embarrass him, consider it mission accomplished.
I’m a man who can appreciate a 2,100-inch TV and I applaud the effort to create a fantastic in-game experience for fans, but Jones needs to do the right thing and spend the $2 million it will cost to raise the scoreboard to ensure there is no chance it can interfere with the action on the field.
I doubt that will happen after Friday’s NFL ruling that Jones can leave his giant ego (I mean, video screen) where it is for the 2009 season. If a ball deflects off of it, the clock will be reset and the down will be replayed. Sounds simple, but there is no such thing as a do-over in professional football. Someone could get injured, a snap might be off target or the punter might shank a kick trying to avoid the oversized obstruction.
It’s entirely possible the scoreboard is going to impact a game this year. Here’s hoping the Cowboys are the ones on the wrong end of that. At the very least, we can all enjoy the fact that Jones will have a constant reminder of a major flaw in his masterpiece hanging over his head – literally – until the situation is fixed.