Yesterday the NFL office ruled on the (shall we say) slightly embarrassing scoreboard conundrum in the Dallas Cowboys' soon to be opened Taj Mahal of stadiums. If you had not been aware, the issue revolves around the world's largest video screens (containing 30 million light bulbs in total) that make up the scoreboard being situated so low above the field that punted footballs bang into the bottom of it. And, it is noteworthy that the massive structure spans 60 yards from 20 yard line to 20 yard line, hanging over the field like a UFO mother ship. Oops!
Interestingly, after review by the NFL Competition Committee, the NFL gave what may amount to a temporary stay. The league has agreed that the Cowboys do not need to raise the scoreboard at this time, but will rather allow them to play special "do-over" ground rules for the 2009 season. Those rules are something along the lines of a backyard conversation you had as a kid: "If a ball hits the tree in left field, it is an automatic home run, but if a ball hits the big bush in right, it is a ground rule double...."
This is not a good combination for the ultra-precise NFL, which mandates everything from proper conduct after touchdowns to which body parts hitting the ground constitute a tackle to the appropriate way to wear socks. Since the season is quickly approaching, it would seem that this ruling was more a function of time and it is likely that the team will need to resolve the situation before next season.
The whole matter seems a little surreal since one would expect that the budget to build a $1.15 billion state-of-the-art football stadium would include enough money to hire top notch engineers and architects. Apparently, not, but the most unusual aspect of the whole affair may have been the reactions displayed by owner Jerry Jones and GM Rich Dalrymple as they watched the Titans punter boot balls that thudded into the bottom of the scoreboard.
As the two stood on the sideline and watched, they smiled with seeming amusement. This was an odd reaction as you would expect their look to be more along the lines of a ghostly, wide-eyed stare and as if they had each just swallowed a football while witnessing their organization's colossal error in planning. It appeared that their conversation went something like this:
Jerry: "Well, dang, look at that Rich. That ball just hit the Dallas Cowboys Mega-Tron."
Rich: "Yeh, and the ball was still going up."
Jerry: "Shoot, look at that, who would have thought a ball would go that high?"
Rich: "Not me, sir, but I think our punter kicks even higher."
Jerry: "Isn't that funny?"
One last thing, lets hope that the engineers calculated the right amount of support to hold up the massive scoreboard structure since they were a little lax with other things.....
See more on this in yesterday's post "I'm Just Saying....."