ARLINGTON, Texas -- You can't do the Cowboys' new stadium justice with words. When you get on Interstate 30 in downtown Dallas, you can see the top of the stadium in the distance -- from 18 miles away.
On Wednesday, the Cowboys opened the stadium with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that lasted less than 30 minutes, but in typical Jerry Jones fashion, it was a grand celebration. The doors to the building were opened from the bottom all the way to the top. Picture a gigantic edifice with the doors opening from the bottom up. It was amazing to watch.
The Cowboys' cheerleaders were out for the occasion, and fireworks and sky jumpers signaled the end of the proceedings. About 75 former Cowboys players, including several Hall of Famers, also were in attendance. Everyone received commemorative hats, iced tea, lemonade and cookies in the shape of the stadium.
Everything about this stadium is an upgrade over a normal building. Instead of steel, the stadium is made up of terrazo, a premium faux-marble material. There also are two gorgeous plazas on the west and east ends, behind the end zones.
Cowboys executives spent three days at London's Wembley Stadium, where they got the idea for the massive plazas. They are beautiful, open, grassy areas that are standing-room only. Plaza admission will cost $40, so families can go to games at a more reasonable cost and have an area in which their kids can run around.
While access to the plazas might be affordable, the luxury boxes aren't quite as reasonably priced. I ran into an old friend of mine, whose father was the first to buy a box at Texas Stadium, which opened in 1971. He told me he wanted to continue the tradition, so he was the first person to buy a luxury box at the new stadium. His father's box at old Texas Stadium cost $50,000 when he bought it. How much was the box at the new stadium, you ask? Try $3 million.
That being said, this stadium is unbelievable. The Cowboys needed a $350 million loan late last year to apply the finishing touches, and while other organizations were finding it impossible to land funding, Jones said his team's brand name allowed it to quickly receive the necessary money. The final tab for the stadium was $1.25 billion.
And there will never be another stadium like this. Just because of its magnitude, I don't think anyone can afford to duplicate this building.
The first event at the Cowboys' new digs will be a concert by country-music star George Strait two weeks from now. The stadium also is scheduled to host the Super Bowl in 2011, a Notre Dame-Arizona State football game in 2013 and the NCAA Basketball Final Four in 2014.
Imagine the flashiest, nicest place you've ever seen. This stadium is better.