Before hundreds of Cowboys greats, fans and local politicians, Jerry Jones stood and opined on his hopes that the huge new stadium behind him would be a beacon of hope to our country in its hour of greatest need.
"We could never have imagined five years ago that we would be in some of the toughest times this country has ever seen," Jones said Wednesday afternoon. He thanked the bankers and politicians who helped with getting the $1.15-billion stadium built. Jones said the stadium does cost far more than it needed to, strictly speaking, but short-changing the fans just isn't the Cowboys way.
The towering structure, like a great glass football helmet lighting the plains, will dazzle folks across the globe, even the ones with screens smaller than the $40 million HDTV -- biggest in the world -- hanging above the 50-yard line. The extra capacity, Jones said, will make room for thousands more to take in a Cowboys game in person at just $30 or $40 a ticket.
"Sports has long had a reputation as a place where people go when they need a respite," Jones said. "We can be an inspiration here ... knowing the way we're gettin' our butt kicked today isn't the way it's going to be."
Then, joined onstage by Arlington mayor Robert Cluck (Mayor Tom watched from somewhere in the back, rocking a pair of Lance Armstrong shades) and flanked by his family, cheerleaders and retired players, Jones pushed the lever on the new stadium in the chilling, triumphant moment shown above. In an instant, that carefully constructed sense of humility was pulverized in a rush of smoke, blaring gridiron jams, high kicks, skydivers and all the fireworks of Toby Keith USO stop, as the 120-foot retractable glass doors -- tallest in the world -- spread open on the new park.
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Update: Here's our slide show from the insanely choreographed event, complete with Mayor Tom resplendent in shades, Michael Irvin having a great time, and, in an odd choice, risers filled with Cowboys cheerleaders and plaid-skirted schoolgirls.