Earlier this month we escorted a group of Denver Bronco fans from the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club (DBQC) on a road trip to see their team play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It was a great experience! Family Travel Gurus co-owner Tim Larison has attended hundreds of Bronco games since getting season tickets as a 12 year old in 1968. The Dallas trip was special in that it was the first time he had attended a Bronco road game ever! Here are some pictures and Tim’s comments on the experience.
Our group before departing for the stadium – we were excited for the game!
AT&T stadium in the Dallas suburb of Arlington was huge! I took this picture about three hours before game time. Opening as Cowboys Stadium in 2009, Dallas owner Jerry Jones got a sponsorship deal with AT&T and changed the name this year. The stadium seats 80,000 with a maximum capacity of 105,000 with standing room only. On this day 92,857 fans were in attendance.
Before the game I attended a tailgate party with Denver and Dallas fans across the street from the stadium. In general the Cowboy fans were gracious hosts and congratulated us on a good game afterwards. One Dallas season ticket holder told me he had never seen so many visiting team’s fans at a Cowboy game. It reminded me of when Pittsburgh plays in Denver where about 1/3rd of the stadium seems to be Steeler fans.
The tailgate party had an indoor area where Cowboy hall of famer Mel Renfro was signing autographs. I quickly looked up on my iphone browser Mel’s biography and found out his last game was the Dallas 27-10 win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XII – one of the most painful games of my childhood! I was going to discuss that with Mel but the autograph line got to be too long.
The coach of that 1977 Cowboy team, Tom Landry, is immortalized in this statue outside the stadium. Throughout the area were tributes to Cowboy greats of the past (I walked through the “Roger Staubach” parking lot).
Once inside I was thrilled with the location of our seats – in the corner of the end zone in the second level. This is the same viewing angle I have the field as my seats back home at Sports Authority Field in Denver, except here I was even closer to the action.
DBQC members Jim and Marilyn in Bronco orange. Veterans of many Bronco QB road trips, Jim said our seats were much closer to the field than past road games they have attended.
DBQC member Shirley was celebrating her birthday this day. The Broncos would give her a great present later that afternoon (a thrilling 51-48 win over the Cowboys!)
Most impressive were the huge video boards suspended 90 feet above the field – here showing the Cowboy cheerleaders in their pregame performance. Even though my seats were in the corner I had a clear view of the video screen, and I found myself watching it often.
The Cowboys make the most of their pregame ceremony – cheerleaders, pyrotechnics, and Cowboy coach Jason Garrett greeting each player as the player is introduced in the center of the field. The stadium was extremely loud and the crowd was hyped! No doubt this helped the Cowboys get off to a quick 14-0 lead.
In this game as luck would have it much of the action was on the opposite side of the field from my seats. The video boards came in handy for watching action near the opposite goal line. I found myself looking at the video board more often than using my binoculars like I do back at Sports Authority Field in Denver.
$16 for an in game margarita?? No thanks but this vendor didn’t have any problems selling out her inventory, including some to our group. Dallas calls these “Cowboy-ritas”. I kept my fluid intake to a minimum during the game because of the long lines for the men’s room – a 1/2 hour pregame wait for the bathroom was enough for me. The women had no such problem – my wife reports there was no wait for the ladies room.
Needless to say, the game was a great one to attend for a Bronco fan with all the scoring and the Denver win at the end. Afterwards the concourse was jammed with exiting fans – it took over 30 minutes to get through the gates to the outside air.
On Monday we were treated to a tour of AT&T Stadium. The highlight was a chance to get on the field! Here I am sitting near the spot of Danny Trevathan’s big interception that was the turning point of the game for the Broncos.. The stadium turf was firm yet flexible – a great surface to play on. Artificial turf has really advanced over the years.
On the field I got a closer look at the field level boxes which you can see in the distance. Cowboy fans pay a premium for these, which come with a seat in the first two rows immediately above the box. On the field visitors were throwing passes and even kicking field goals with footballs they had brought. Back home in Denver they don’t let you near the natural grass turf on Sports Authority Field tours – the artificial turf of AT&T stadium allows fans a closeup experience.
View of the video board from the field. I would guess players don’t even think about the video board during the game – it’s pretty much removed from game action.
Some of our DBQC group on the field at AT&T Stadium. A group photo was taken on the Dallas “star” at the 50 yard line and we all got that picture to take home as a memory for this very special trip.
Fans in the field level boxes have access to this lounge before and during the game. When the Cowboys are introduced at midfield these fans get a chance to high five the players before they run out into the field. On the visiting end the field level box fans watch the opposing team from behind plexiglass as they run out on the field.
Field box ticket holders also have their own parking spot indoors.
The elevator to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ suite. The Jones suite, which holds 100 people, is not shown on the tour. In fact our tour guide said he had never seen it, and he’s been doing tours for three years.
We did get to see one of the other upper level suites.
A great view of the video board and the field from the suite. Our guide said over 90% of the suites are sold out but there are a few available for public sale for each game. How about renting a suite for the Thanksgiving game, and then having a catered meal afterwards? Our guide didn’t say how much that would cost – no doubt some Texas oilman will rent it to impress his friends.
Back on field level we saw the room where the Cowboys host post game press conferences – the largest of its kind in the NFL. Field box ticket holders can watch the press conference from their lounge next door.
Next we saw the Cowboys locker room. You can see pictures of former Cowboy greats, like Don Meredith, above. Honestly I was more impressed with the Bronco locker room at Sports Authority Field than this one, though it is good of the Cowboys to allow locker room access on their tours (the Broncos don’t show their locker room on most Sports Authority Field tours)
I had to say a word of thanks at Tony Romo’s locker for his big interception at the end of Sunday’s game.
And now for something completely different … the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders locker room! Lots more mirrors in here compared to the players’ locker room.
Each cheerleader had her picture above her locker.
Along with her twitter handle below (sorry guys, no phone numbers)
Cheerleaders pregame instructions – note each is encouraged to “Shake Your Tailgate”
The road trip also featured visiting different attractions in the host city. Our hotel, the Hilton in Ft Worth, was a historic one. John F Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy stayed here the night before that fateful day in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Photos of that visit were displayed around the hotel, like this one with the Kennedys departing that morning.
On Saturday before the game we were given the opportunity to visit different Dallas area sights as part of our tour package. My wife and I went to the 6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas. Others in our group took a shopping excursion to Old Town Ft Worth.
Saturday night in Ft Worth we visited Billy Bob’s Honky Tonk where we had some delicious Texas barbeque while listening to a country music band.
After dinner we attended Billy Bob’s live rodeo, featuring bull riding in this arena!
Overall it was an amazing experience to see the Broncos win in such a great stadium – the best one I have ever been in. Going with friends from the Denver Bronco Quarterback Club and seeing the sights in Dallas made the trip even better.
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