Texas Stadium is the home field of the National
Football League's Dallas Cowboys. It is in Irving,
Texas, a suburb of Dallas, and opened on
October 24, 1971, at a cost of $35 million. The
stadium seats 65,675.
Built to replace the aging Cotton Bowl, the
stadium was designed with a unique open roof
design, which resulted in most of the stands being
enclosed but not the playing field itself. This
unusual arrangement—more commonly seen in
European soccer stadiums—prompted Cowboys
linebacker D.D. Lewis to make his now-famous
quip that the "hole" in the stadium's roof was there
"so that God can watch His team."
The stadium hosts neutral-site college football
games and formerly was home to the SMU
Mustangs before the NCAA shut down its football
program in 1987-88. (SMU has since built its own
on-campus stadium.) In November and December,
Texas Stadium is a major venue for high school
football. It is not uncommon for there to be high
school football tripleheaders at the stadium.
Texas Stadium has served as a temporary home
for two Dallas-area high schools, Plano Senior
High School in 1979 after its home stadium was
damaged by a prank gone awry, and Highland
Park High School while a new stadium on campus was being built. The 2001 Big 12
conference championship game was held at the site, as well as the 1973 Pro Bowl. In
addition to football, the stadium has hosted concerts, wrestling events, and religious
gatherings such as Promise Keepers and Billy Graham crusades (a Graham crusade was
the first event held at Texas Stadium). The two "bridges" that are connected to one of the
support arms are called "Garth Bars". They were installed for a Garth Brooks concert so
he could fly above the crowd and have remained ever since.
The playing surface installed in 1971 officially was labeled Texas Turf, and was a form of
AstroTurf; it was replaced by a somewhat softer surface called RealGrass in the middle of
the 2002 season.
The Cowboys will leave Texas Stadium after the 2008 NFL season for a new,
as-yet-unnamed stadium; to open for the 2009 NFL season; that will be partially funded by
taxpayers in Arlington, Texas. In November 2004, Arlington voters approved a half-cent
(.005 per US Dollar) sales tax to fund $325 million of the then estimated $650 million
stadium by a margin of 55-45. Jerry Jones, the Cowboys' owner, spent over $5 million
backing the ballot measure, but also agreed to cover any cost overruns which as of 2006
had already raised the estimated cost of the project to $1 billion.
The fate of Texas Stadium after the Cowboys' departure remains uncertain. However, the famed roof, whose worn paint had become unsightly in
the early 2000s, was repainted in the summer of 2006 by the City of Irving. It was the first time the famed roof was repainted since Texas Stadium
opened. The roof is structurally independent from the stadium it covers. As a tribute to the original Texas Stadium, the new stadium, which is a
retractable roof system, will also include a setting that mimics the hole in the roof.