Sunday, January 03, 2010

Cowboys ask for a decibel boost at home

By David Moore
January 3, 2010

Did you know you can open the retractable roof at Cowboys Stadium, air-drop the Statue of Liberty onto the field, and then close the roof without scraping the tip of Lady Liberty's flame?

Did you know American Airlines Center would fit into the stadium at field level?

Come to think of it, that second idea isn't a bad one. It's hard to hear yourself think at AAC. The same can't be said for Jerry's palace.

Cowboys Stadium is an architectural marvel. But when it comes to that ear-splitting cacophony of sound home teams use to their emotional advantage, well . . .

''Texas Stadium was louder,'' receiver Patrick Crayton said. ''Maybe because the tickets were cheaper so the fans could afford to get there, the ones who got crazy off the Miller Lites.''

Social responsibility prevents us from suggesting Jerry Jones throw a keg party before today's game with Philadelphia. Besides, who do you think purchases those party-pass tickets?

But it's interesting that several players lament the lack of crowd noise heading into this NFC East showdown. Coach Wade Phillips opened one of his daily news conferences saying he expected today's crowd to be as loud, or louder, than the one his team encountered in the Louisiana Superdome.

He sounded more envious than confident.

Jones has long maintained this first season in a new stadium would give his team an edge. His rationale: he emptied his bucket to build this monument in tough economic times so the players would respond by giving it their all on the field.

The results are mixed. The Cowboys win by an average of 9.2 points at Cowboys Stadium vs. 2.8 points on the road. But 10 teams have won more home games than the Cowboys (5-2) entering the final weekend of the regular season. The team has lost two of the three games it's played against opponents with a winning record at Cowboys Stadium.

Did we mention the Eagles have a winning record?

''Well, you know, we started off there with a disappointment,'' Jones said of the loss to the New York Giants. ''But I definitely think the stadium does create a certain accountability, and I know first-hand our players and coaches know that the stadium represents a big commitment and a big responsibility on their part to play up to it.

''I think that's a fact.''

The players have different theories on why the noise level isn't as high in this shiny, new stadium as the one they left behind. You've heard Crayton's.

Receiver Roy Williams points to the digital board.

''It's not loud because the fans are sitting there watching the Jumbotron, eating their popcorn, enjoying the movie on the screen until the game gets tight at the end and it gets to where we need the fans,'' Williams said. ''At the end, that's when it gets really loud.

''I understand looking at that Jumbotron can be mesmerizing, but we need them to cheer as well.''

It's even harder to cheer when you're juggling popcorn and 3D glasses, which fans were asked to do for part of the second half of the team's loss to San Diego three weeks ago.

But the leading theory is tied to the stadium's core identity.

Its size.

Cornerback Mike Jenkins believes this is perhaps the quietest field he's played on this season.

Because Cowboys Stadium is so cavernous, the sound doesn't bounce off the walls and stands like it does at other places. Jenkins, Crayton and others say if Jones wants to pump up the volume for today's game, he should keep the roof and all the doors closed.

''When we packed the house at 90,000 or more, we always kept the doors or the roof or something open,'' cornerback Orlando Scandrick said. ''Let's see how it would be with everything closed.

''Hopefully, Mr. Jones and the front office will keep all of that closed and give us that added advantage.''