ARLINGTON, Texas _ You’ve all heard by now how the new Cowboys Stadium is the biggest, richest, most technologically sophisticated and epically epic pro football venue in the universe. So we, self-sacrificing truth-seekers that we are, crashed the General Admission barriers and went straight to the special-access areas, to see what super-sized fun is brewing in Texas for Sunday, Feb. 6: Super Bowl XLV.
Damn, this thing is big
The three-million square-foot, $1.1 billion dollar stadium measures 900 feet from end to end and covers 73 acres. The exterior wall is 800 feet of glass. The 14,100 tons of steel used to build the roof represent approximately the same quantity of steel used to build 92 Boeing 777s. The retractable doors at the General Admission entry/end zone are the largest retractable doors in the world: 180-feet wide by 120-feet high. To give you a better idea what that looks like: The 20-plus Ford trucks and cars on the third-floor Ford Platform weren’t driven in; they were crane-lifted straight up and in – and still, there’s room in the Ford pavilion for you and a thousand of your fellow General Admission friends. The retractable roof, too, is the largest single-span roof structure on Earth. If something’s nice, do it twice, right?
And so purdy
Not only is this an enormous stadium, it’s a fine-looking one. That’s in part because of the 22 original art installations commissioned specially by an art council headed up by Jerry Jones’ wife Gene. Thank her for osmosis-izing you with a little fine art sensibility while you wait in line for your beer.
But the true thing of beauty is the four-sided, 25,000 square-FOOT (not inches) HDTV video board suspended above the 50-yard line. It cost $40 million, and is the biggest big screen in the world.
And now, bow your head in a moment of silent respect.
Finally, the hotness ace-high: The Dallas Cowboys will, in future seasons (though not during this Super Bowl, obviously) have TWO squads of hot girls cheering them on. THAT’S RIGHT, DOUBLE THE PLEASURE. While everyone else was busy drooling over the Cowboy Cheerleaders, Jerry Jones hired a new squad of Rhythm & Blues Dancers that perform on podiums in the General Admission pavilions, accompanied by live drumming, on game days. This, please note, is the true version of any rumors you may have heard regarding pole-dancing cheerleaders in the Cowboys VIP areas.
TV tech specs
But you want to know more about that big-screen TV, don’t you? Okay. It’s actually four contiguous screens, comprised of 30 million itty-bitty light bulbs, center-hung 90 feet over the field, spanning to the 20-yard-lines. It was custom-designed by Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision. Mitsubishi general manager Mark Foster said it was, “One of the most exciting projects we’ve ever been involved with.” We got excited just looking at it. In addition to the big-big-big screen, there are 3,000 other TVs installed throughout the stadium. All of them are Sony.
The perks that rich people get
There are approximately 300 suites in Cowboys Stadium, plus four premium seating areas and eight VIP clubs. Suites aren’t only in their traditional spot at the top, but also dispersed through various prime viewing areas: There are the Hall of Fame suites 21 rows up, which open onto the stadium, but have a glass wall behind them. The Field-level sideline suites are comparable to dugout suites at a baseball stadium. The Touchdown suites are our favorite, not just because of their position directly behind the end zones, but because each of them comes with a VIP parking spot underneath the stadium. All non-elevated suites have access to the Miller Lite Club, which players and cheerleaders pass through to get from their locker rooms to the field. All suite-holders have access not only to traditional lounges, but to Dee Lincoln’s Bubble Bar, a tasting room and champagne bar serving 50 selections of fine wine, just like Vince Lombardi imagined stadiums one day would.
The corridors connecting the elevated suites and luxury lounges are hung with approximately 2,000 of the greatest photos from the Cowboys archives, re-mastered and blown up to approximately three feet high. Without captions or any particular order in the arrangement, this collection is enough to wow any football fan – and make a Cowboy fan fall to his knees. We’ve actually seen that.
Get ready, get set…
There are 2,000 people working every day to prepare Cowboys Stadium for its Super Bowl debut. The kitchens are preparing: 12 tons of Ultimate Nachos (equivalent to one ounce of cheese for every cheese-head living in Green Bay), 8,000 pounds of hot dogs (laid end-to-end, that’s 6,666 yards), 4,000 gallons of signature Cowboyrita (the perfect amount to pair with 85,000 servings of Ultimate Nachos), 160 tons of ice (enough to make three hockey rinks) and 15,625 gallons of soda (this amount of gasoline could power your car for three years.)
However, don’t get too excited unless you’ve already somehow purchased a ticket to Super-Sized Super Bowl XLV. Right now builders are reinforcing the eight miles of special fencing installed around the stadium just for game day. That’s right, friend — you ain’t sneakin’ in.
(Lena Katz is founder of the pop travel site ZingiTravel.com. She visited Cowboys Stadium while road-tripping in an AWD Suzuki across the country this winter while all y’all were huddled up next to your fireplaces waiting for Santa Claus. Her books, Travel Temptations California: SIP & SUN, are out now.)