Cowboys' giant new home ready for action

KEN FIDLIN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

It has been called various names, including Jerry World, Jones Town and the Jones-Mahal, but it's officially named Cowboys Stadium and in true Texas fashion, it is a monument to excess and greed.

It has been rising out of the ground in Arlington the past three years, not far from the modest stadium where the Texas Rangers play, and it dwarfs any multi-sports facility in the world.

Tonight, the Dallas Cowboys will host their hated rivals, the New York Giants in the first NFL regular-season game played there and owner Jerry Jones is expecting to set an NFL record with more than 100,000 in the building.

Even before it has hosted even one NFL game, Cowboys Stadium, which began as a $650-million US project and ended up costing $1.15 billion, has been awarded the 2011 Super Bowl.

It has premium parking that will cost $75 a game, $60 pizzas, a retractable roof and a high-definition scoreboard that stretches from one 20-yard line to the other. The scoreboard has even been the subject of a new local ground rule because punters can actually hit it. The ruling: Dead ball, replay the down.

Many longtime Cowboys season-ticket holders have been priced out of the new era in Dallas football. Beckey Phillips, whose family has had tickets since the old stadium opened in 1971, told the Dallas Morning News of her own personal sticker shock. Her family had tickets on the 5-yard line, near field level for 38 years. Last year, they paid $100 a seat. She was figuring on about double the price, plus a $5,000 seat licence. The salesman told her she would have to pay a $16,000 seat licence and $380 per game.

"Seriously, I thought I was going to have a heart attack," Phillips told the newspaper. "I just started to cry. This poor sales guy was like: 'Oh my gosh. I am so sorry.' "

Apparently, there are plenty willing to pay the price and about 95% of the seats in the stadium are sold for the year, including luxury boxes priced between $100,000 and $500,000.

A RYAN STATE OF MIND

Are the Rex Ryan in-your-face New York Jets for real? More to the point, are the New England Patriots for real?

Today's meeting between the brash Jets and the perennial AFC East powerhouse will peel back a layer or two on both subjects.

When Ryan took the job in New York, he said he wasn't there "to kiss Bill Belichick's rings." Ryan is a defensive specialist who built the Ravens into one of the meanest units in football. He's having the same effect in New York.

"Take everything they did in Baltimore and white out Baltimore and write in New York Jets and that's what you've got," Belichick said.

"They will see a team with the New York mentality, we'll just say that," Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins said. "I've been around the subways, I've been in some clubs -- we're just gonna say they're gonna see a team with the New York-type of mentality."

THE 0-2 BLUES

When the schedule consists of only 16 games, obviously every one of them is important, but for those teams that lost in Week 1, it's already crunch time. Since 1990, teams that have started 0-2 have made the playoffs only 13.8% of the time (22 of 160). Teams that start 1-1 have a 40.2% chance (104 of 259). And teams that have won their first two games have advanced to the playoffs 64.2% (102-of-158) of the time.

There are five games this weekend in which both teams lost last week: Tampa at Buffalo, Arizona at Jacksonville, St. Louis at Washington, Oakland at Kansas City and Houston at Tennessee.

Win, and you've got a fighting chance; lose, and you're in deep doo-doo.

KEN.FIDLIN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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