With five NFL Championships under their belts, the Dallas Cowboys are one of the most legendary teams in football history. But how much do you know about their home field, AT&T Stadium?
For over three decades, the team played at the iconic Texas Stadium. This hallowed ground was the site of all of their championships and was beloved by Cowboys fans. When team owner Jerry Jones decided that the team needed a new home, he knew he needed to match the grandeur of Texas Stadium.
Texas Stadium’s replacement, AT&T Stadium, is one of the most luxurious, over-the-top arenas in all sports. Its striking looks, advanced technology, and imposing size make it the perfect home for “America’s Team.”
Where Is AT&T Stadium?
Although the arena is the home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium is not actually located in Dallas. It sits close to the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Arlington is a suburban community located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones started exploring options for a bigger stadium in 1994. Initially, he proposed adding 40,000 seats to Texas Stadium’s 65,000-seat capacity, but he ultimately chose to build a new stadium from scratch.
The team explored several sites for the new arena in the Dallas area but ultimately settled on Arlington when the city offered $325 million to fund the new stadium.
Design duties were handled by the Dallas-based firm HKS architects. The firm stated that its goal was to make the building “an event in and of itself.” Construction began in 2006 and took three years to complete. The project cost approximately $1.3 billion, almost twice as much as initially estimated.
Features and Design
The stadium is famous for its size and technological features. Here is a rundown of some important design details.
AT&T Stadium Capacity
AT&T Stadium can seat 85,000 fans. If the standing room is included, its total capacity comes out to 105,000 people. It is the third-largest stadium in the NFL by seating capacity.
AT&T Stadium is the largest enclosed space in the world that doesn’t use columns for support. The structure is propped up by two enormous stainless steel archways that run the entire length of the stadium. The field is sunk 50 feet below street level to give fans a panoramic view of the action.
The new stadium takes several design cues from the old Texas Stadium, most notably the shape of the roof. The roof appears very similar to Texas Stadium’s, with the famous hole in the middle from inside the arena.
Unlike Texas Stadium, AT&T Stadium includes a retractable roof with motorized panels that can close the hole in case of bad weather, turning the stadium into an indoor venue.
Possibly the most famous feature of AT&T Stadium is the monumentally-sized high-definition screen that hangs from the ceiling. At the time of construction, it was the largest HD video screen in the world.
The screen runs from one 20 yard line to the other, running 2/3 of the length of a football field. It measures 160 feet long by 71 feet high, larger than an NBA basketball court.
The screen has had its fair share of controversies. During the first-ever NFL game at AT&T Stadium, a pre-season match between the Titans and the Cowboys, Titans punter A.J. Trapasso kicked a punt that hit the screen and bounced backward. As per NFL rules, the down had to be replaced, and Trapasso was able to try the punt again.
Although Jerry Jones claims Trapasso must have intentionally hit the video board, independent analysts state that teams may have to modify their punting strategy to avoid hitting the screen. Despite this analysis, punts have not frequently hit the board during the screen’s 12 years of use.
Although the giant screen over the field gets all the attention, it is only one of over 3,000 LCDs scattered throughout AT&T Stadium.
AT&T Stadium Events
The first-ever event held at AT&T Stadium was a country music concert headlined by George Strait and Reba McEntire. Two sold-out international soccer matches quickly followed it.
The debut NFL playoff game at AT&T stadium occurred on January 9, 2010. The Cowboys won, ending a 13-year stretch with no playoff victories.
The stadium hosted the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers for Super Bowl XLV in 2011.
In addition to NFL games and concerts, the stadium also serves as a venue for other sporting events. It has been used for NCAA college football games, including the Cotton Bowl Classic. NCAA Basketball Tournament games have also been held at the stadium.
Visiting AT&T Stadium
The most convenient way to get to the stadium is to drive. AT&T Stadium offers several levels of parking passes, including tailgating packages. Fans can rent tailgating supplies from the stadium and even have their tailgates catered by stadium staff.
Fans without cars can take a private shuttle service to the stadium instead of driving.
AT&T Stadium Tours
If fans want to see more of the stadium than they can during a Cowboys game, they can take a behind-the-scenes tour. Popular stops on the tour include the Cowboys locker room and the cheerleaders’ locker room. The tour allows fans to step onto the field and see the stadium from the vantage point of their favorite players.
A Legacy of Greatness
AT&T Stadium is an awe-inspiring feat of engineering and design. It lives up to the designer’s goal to house “the team is a monumental structure whose design will stand the test of time.”
If you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes info about AT&T Stadium, then swing by our blog for more deep dives and NFL news.