Friday, September 18, 2009

Truly deserving a grand opening

The doors open in less than 48 hours for the real first for the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Yes there have been concerts and those pesky pre-season games. Sunday night, however, the Dallas Cowboys will tear off the tag, shred open the shrink-wrap, and take the field for the first time at the nation's most impressive sporting venue. Yes, you heard me new Yankees Stadium and Citi Field. Your puny baseball fields are no match for a place that the local Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket refers to as the Death Star.

Doesn't seem like the most far-fetched nickname either. First of all, the obvious, pretty much this team is either the most-loved or most-hated in the NFL. Not to mention the stadium's true capacity and capabilities are only beginning to be realized.

The championship banners from Texas Stadium have been moved from Irving to Arlington, and even the biggest Cowboys legend of them all has made the move.

Dallas opens the shiny new Cowboys Stadium against the NFC East rival New York Giants on Sunday Night. National TV audience. New stadium. Big rivals. It's a night that's going to be more about the venue than about the ballpark. It's a game where the Giants need to follow the script of the evening. The Cowboys opened Texas Stadium - the only stadium to host five Super Bowl champions - in 1971 with a thumping of the New England Patriots. That year the Cowboys went on to win the first of five championships. Texas Stadium closed with tremendous fanfare despite a crushing defeat that ended up costing the Cowboys a playoff spot. The Ravens didn't stick to the script as the Cowboys lost "The Farewell" of its old home. The Cowboys do not need a repeat in kind.

It's going to be a big night for everyone, especially Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He may be one of the most hated owners in sports, but no one can deny his passion and drive for his Cowboys. The man wants to leave his legacy, a legacy that already includes three Lombardi trophies. This venue defines what Jerry Jones has been to the Cowboys. In his eyes, there is no circumstance where the Cowboys should not be Number 1, and that includes the home field. That's why Jerry has build the Palace of Dallas, the Mansion of the Metroplex, the Death Star of DFW. It's big, it's grand. It's everything that Jerry Jones feels the Cowboys are, and he's turned it into a building.

When the game begins on Sunday, the players must handle business on the field. There is no excuse for a loss. With all the pomp and circumstance, all the hype, all the glory that this new venue represents, the product on the field must be equally worthy of inhabiting such a place. Would it be the worst thing in the world if the Cowboys lost the opener but went on to have a successful season? Unless the year ends with a Super Bowl berth - and this is Dallas, so who are we kidding, a Super Bowl trophy - it's a scenario that's best not to think about. Win the game. Open the new Cowboys Stadium the right way. Give this place the Grand Opening that you gave Texas Stadium almost 40 years ago. Defeat the Giants and make it an amazing season. Simple as that.

Those may seem like unrealistic, gaudy demands, but they are a requisite for occupancy of such a venue.

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