AT&T Stadium has more than basketball to check out

04/02/2014 8:56 PM

11/12/2014 4:30 PM

AT&T Stadium is as much a spectacle for spectators as the events taking place there. Officials boast that the Statue of Liberty could fit from top to bottom in the world’s largest domed structure, 2.3 million square feet. The stadium is twice as long as St. Louis’ Gateway Arch. It is truly a sight to see. We give you a few things worth passing by while you’re there.

Tom Landry statue

If you’re a real Cowboys fan, you’ll stop by to pay tribute to this tribute to the team’s original coach, who led the team to two Super Bowls wins in five appearances and 10 NFC Championship Games between 1970-82. He stands as he did on the sideline, on the north side of the stadium.

Sky Mirror

The newest addition to the grounds of AT&T Stadium is “Sky Mirror,” the most expensive addition to the Cowboys’ collection of artwork. Jerry Jones acknowledged at the dedication in October that he paid $10 million for the work and $4 million to install. The 35-foot-diameter circle of stainless steel that sits on a black granite plinth on the east side of the stadium traveled the world before finding a final resting place in Arlington. It has taken on new significance at AT&T Stadium, reflecting Texas: big open skies and hundreds of thousands of football fans.

Art

AT&T Stadium is a piece of work, make no mistake. But the masterpieces that dot the stadium concourses make a visit worth more than a sports experience. More than a dozen artists are featured, including Franz Ackermann, whose 3-story-tall commission captures his memories of his trip from his native Berlin to Dallas-Fort Worth. A silhouette of Texas Stadium is included, “suggesting that the past is part of the present and that the best memories are shared.” A more unique work is “Win!” by Mel Bochner, whose self-styled “Thesaurus Paintings” focus on how language can both “convey and derail” meaning.

Tours

VIP tours are a good way to see all the nooks and crannies of the stadium, including the Cowboys’ locker rooms and those of the world famous cheerleaders. Unfortunately, the cheerleaders aren’t there. A VIP tour is $17.50 and takes about an hour and a half. Other, less expensive tours are available, but not every day. Call ahead.

Now that’s a TV

The video board that goes from the 20-yard line on one end of the field to the other is as tall as a 6-story building and covers 25,000-square feet. Texas Stadium in Irving cost $35 million to build. This thing cost $40 million. You’d need help hanging this over the fireplace.

A celebration of the past in pictures

Walk any which way or take an elevator, you’ll find pictures of memorable plays and players in Cowboys history. Along the suite area is the Drew Pearson’s “Hail Mary” reception in three frames, including the third, which shows in the background a shocked home Minnesota crowd and a lone, solitary Cowboys fan in the midst of celebration. The photos in black and white represent a moment before Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989. Those in color happened during Jones’ 25-year tenure as owner.

Cotton Bowl offices

The nerve center of the Cotton Bowl? Why, you ask? Go take a look. They’re pretty slick. The entry way includes a piece of art that appears to be a cluster of silver helmets near the floor that thins out as it ascends to the ceiling. What they represent are all the schools with hopes of winning a national championship and then as it moves toward the ceiling, they thin, just like the teams’ title hopes. At the top is one helmet. Also, on the windows outside the offices are notable plays from the game’s 78 years, including Rice’s “47 Sweep,” in which the Owls’ Dicky Maegle was tackled by an Alabama bench player. Featured also is “Split Left,” run by Arkansas and offensive guard Jerry Jones in the 1965 game with Nebraska.

World’s largest movable doors and retractable roof

The doors at the east and west ends are truly engineering marvels. They’re each 120 feet tall and to open them requires choreography. Each side must open at the same time because wind finding entrance from one end will blow out the windows on the other. Stadium officials learned this the hard way, it is said. The retractable roof, which mostly stays closed, requires 128 motors to open and close and can do the job in 12-15 minutes.

Things you want to see but won’t

July’s electric bill, said to be in the range of $600,000 to $700,000 a month during the summer months. Oy.

Things you don’t want to see but could

Room F414-1. It’s the jail-drunk tank below the stadium. Behave, frat boy.

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