The Cowboys Stadium scene is so amazing that every game has the feel of a mini-Super Bowl. I literally had chills when I stepped inside for Game 1 against the New York Giants and stared up at the mammoth video board. A montage showed the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Roman Coliseum, and finally the $1.2 billion home of America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Wow! This was truly a spectacle.
A lot has been documented about the size of this sparkling glass palace. The video board is 160 feet wide and 72 feet high and cost $40 million (more than all of Texas Stadium.) In awe, I began to explore and discovered club after club after club. It reminded me of The Palms in Las Vegas, where you have Ghostbar, Rain, Moon, the Playboy Club, the Lounge, etc. Everywhere I turned there was another exclusive enclave.
The first club I wandered into is on the main level and separates the Party Pass decks ($29 tickets!) that are located behind each end zone. There was no signage, but a security guy said it was called the "Cowboys Club." It was a spacious spot with flatscreens of all sizes and, through glass doors, a deck with cocktail tables that provided a 50-yard-line view of the field. The light fixtures were shaped like footballs with the bulbs as laces. There is plenty of room to sit and several bars, including one in the back with a huge Crown Royal football hanging above it. Judging from the big crowd and casual feel, I'm betting this would be the easiest club to gain access to.
Downstairs from the Cowboys Club is the Hall of Fame level suites, which has its own VIP area called the "Legends Club." It's the Ritz Carlton' of the clubs, populated by a "see and be seen" country club crowd that oh-by-the-way is at a sporting event ... there isn't even a view of the field! This club is available only to patrons that are in the suites on this particular level. But if you can scam your way in, this is where you might find cougars on the prowl.
PATRON PLATINUM LOUNGE
Exiting the elevator onto the Silver Level took me almost straight into a really cool smaller lounge/bar area called Patron Platinum Lounge. There is a bar in the middle of the eclectic room with several TVs that could be seen from the bright white bar or any of the cocktail or smaller tables. There is a nice outdoor patio as well. I really liked the set up of this club and its crowd skewed a little younger than the Legends Club. If tequila is your drink, this is your place.
AMERICAN AIRLINES LOUNGE
The south end of the Silver Level took me into the "American Airlines Lounge." It's 13,000 sq ft and has two bars in the middle and concession stands on either end. Long black tables are set up in the center to give you a place to relax and eat while watching the game on multiple flatscreens. Photos from the airline's history are featured throughout. I discovered a cool promotion AA has going on called "Co-Owner for a Week," which includes two game tickets, pregame field passes (which is so cool and really why I am mentioning this deal) and access to this lounge. For info go to AA.com/cowboys.
DEE LINCOLN'S TASTING ROOM & BUBBLE BAR
The high-end wine bar features 48 wines you can get by the ounce or by the glass. There are also several specialty drinks such as champagne, martinis and bellinis. Dee Lincoln is co-founder and President of Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse (but this bar is not affiliated with Del Frisco's.). The place was close to capacity, with movers and shakers mingling rather than sitting down. If you love wine or bring a date to the game, this is the place to come. It's available to seat holders and suite patrons on the Silver Level.
The north end of the Silver Level led me directly into the Sony Club. There are more than 3,000 Sony HDTVs throughout the luxury suites, concourses and concession areas and more than enough in the Sony Club, which has a buffet, two bars, two concession areas and easy access to the escalators and elevators. It is very similar in setup to the AA Lounge, without all of the vintage movie star pictures. This crowd seemed to be a scattering of people from the nearby suites that were looking to just get out into the open 13,000 square-foot area. With the ease of getting a drink, this was a popular spot.
MILLER LITE LANDING
I couldn't resist the temptation to go up to the Miller Lite Landing area located at the top of the west plaza. My good friend Chelsea Davis was among a group of former Dallas Desperados dancers that were re-branded as the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers. The very sexy girls were performing choreographed routines throughout the game. This area was much rowdier than the high-toned private clubs and it provided great views. I could see the field, had a real good view of the huge crystal clear video board, and everyone seemed really into the game, as well as Chelsea and the other dancers.
THE EAST PLAZA
For the first home game against the Giants, the stadium roof was open, giving God a bird's eye view of his team. The retractable glass doors were also opened, creating a huge party atmosphere akin to a rock concert. The east plaza was full of Cowboys fans watching the game via the $29 Party Pass on one of many huge screens. This was a prime spot to grab one of the ice cold Cowboyritas (Cowboys margaritas.) While wading though this area, I realized the true genius of Jerry Jones: He synergized the financially elite and common-man fans and invited them all to the same party! Outside in the plaza, I felt like I was at a NASCAR race, a huge smoking section with lots of random people hanging out.
MILLER LITE CLUB
After cruising around every VIP spot I could find, I saved the best for last! While in the Sony Club, I bumped into one of my mega-wealthy golf buddies and he just happened to have an extra ticket for yours truly to go down to his field level suite. By virute of this ticket, I was given access to a whole new level of greatness called the "Miller Lite Club." This is the gateway to the field for the Dallas Cowboys players as they exit the locker room. The walkway is flanked by bars on either side and huge flatscreens.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell passed by. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani made his way through. Texas Rangers/Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks exited the field right by me. Then I stood a precious few feet away from Terence "Showtime" Newman, Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, and Roy Williams as they prepared for battle. America's Sweethearts, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, who played a huge role in the evening's pageantry, also lined up right next to me. In her second year as a member of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Kelsi Reich had the opportunity to be a part of the Farewell to Texas Stadium and the Inaugural home opener of Cowboys Stadium. Since she is one of my best pals, I was able to chat with her about her experience on this very special evening.
"Standing in the tunnel before pregame gave me the biggest adrenaline rush I have ever felt," she said. "I told the girls around me that tonight is going to be the biggest night of our lives ... possibly even bigger than our wedding nights." She added, "I definitely had the 'Am I really here?' feeling" and that she wanted to soak up every incredible detail "to share with my children and grandchildren." In my humble opinion, Kelsi is without a doubt the coolest girl in the whole world! Then I was a mere seven feet from former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush as they strolled past, surrounded by Secret Service, after performing the coin toss. Probably the closest I will ever be to a U.S. President! And all of this because I was in the right spot at the right time at a Dallas Cowboys game!
A game is not just a game anymore. Its an experience. Its entertainment. Its about taking in everything thats going on at this awesome venue. It's all about who else is there alongside. While I socialized and tried to experience every aspect of Cowboys Stadium, the Cowboys and New York Giants actually played a football game in front of an NFL regular season record 105,121 fans. It became the most-watched game in the history of Sunday Night Football. It was intriguing theater as Eli Manning and the Giants crashed the party and won on the final play of the game, 33-31.
While many left Arlington disappointed, I left realizing I had the time of my life and on this night the true star was Cowboys Stadium. www.dallascowboys.com