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Rafael Vela
Dallas Cowboys Blogger

Rafael Vela

Blogs at Blogging The Boys, a part of the SB Nation network of sports blogs

Mr. Jones, Pull Up This Wall

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The Colts Peyton Manning stars in a current NFL Ticket commercial which sneaks oversized, high-definition shots of cheerleaders behind the unsuspecting, super-serious quarterback. The fans who attended the Cowboys Stadium debut, Friday night, could be forgiven for thinking they had entered a personal version of Manning's ad. During each TV timeout fans, coaches and players looked upwards to see themselves -- and the cheerleaders -- in HD clarity on Jerry Jones double-sided, 60 yards wide jumbotron.

Jones' attempt to create the world's largest living room was going well until Tennessee Titans backup punter A.J. Trapasso smacked a kick off the board. The play caused confusion in the stands. "What are the ground rules on that?" asked a fan two seats from me. The officials' response exposed their lack of preparation. Hitting the scoreboard is supposed to cause a replay of the down, with time restored to the game clock. In this case, the lost time was not replaced. What's more, Titans coach Jeff Fisher had to throw a replay flag to alert the referees to the deflection. As Fisher noted in his post-game presser, none of the officiating crew are responsible for tracking the flight of the ball.

The scoreboard, it seems, needs some raising. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones dismissed the notion, stating that the scoreboard was hung at a NFL-regulation 90 feet. Those regulations will be revisited, and perhaps revised, at an NFL Competition Committee meeting this week. (Fisher heads the committee.) 90 feet is too short a height. I saw several kicks from both teams' punters eclipse the screens Friday night. Cowboys punter Mat McBriar is already skilled at aiming his punts to either side of the board, and visiting punters will no doubt learn this same skill.

A punter, however, cannot always count on time or his aim. The scoreboard covers all the space between the hash marks between each 20 yard line. If a punt is made anywhere between the goal-lines, the scoreboard comes into play. What if a rusher breaks through and the punter has to rush his kick to avoid a block, and that rush job hits the scoreboard? What if the punter simply miss-hits the ball into the rafters? What if the punter has his re-kick blocked, and a successfully executed initial kick is wiped out because the scoreboard is too low? What if his team loses in these circumstances?

What if his team is the Cowboys?

A face-saving and game-saving solution waits on next month's calendar. U2 will play Cowboys Stadium on October 2nd, four days after the Cowboys play their second regulation game against Carolina. The band will pay $2 million dollars to have the board raised 25 feet, to accommodate their stage. That 25 feet should provide the extra space punters need. The Cowboys could leave the board at that new height. It will be no less dazzling at 115 feet. The scoreboard exists to provide a better view of the game, not to affect it.

By Rafael Vela  |  August 26, 2009; 7:58 AM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , NFL , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Seems obvious that 30 yards is WAY too low. These punters hit rockets these days. Looks like a magnificent new stadium otherwise.

Posted by: observer56 | August 26, 2009 4:25 PM

If the opposing team's punter hits the scoreboard, 15 yard penalty against Dallas, automatic first down. If it is Dallas that hits it, 15 yard penalty repeat the down.

Posted by: drweidner1 | August 26, 2009 4:36 PM

The heck with football, how much does U2 pull down for one concert that they can afford to drop $2 million just like that? Must be even more margin in concerts than I thought...

Posted by: orindan | August 26, 2009 4:43 PM

wait, the board is able to be raised?!?! Then no excuses, raise the board or be penalized, either within the context of the game or financially. There is no excuse if it is not permanently situated.

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | August 26, 2009 4:55 PM

Yup, there is a huge margin for concerts - that's why the Stones, the Eagles, and Michael Jackson (until his passing) all do tours well into their 50's and 60's - because of the money.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | August 26, 2009 4:56 PM

2 mil to raise it 25 ft? What a rip-off! I'm sure Bono would rather give that money to the needy than pay to raise Jerry Jones' extravagant ego compensation a little higher in the air. Personally, I hope it stays low enough to be hit by punts. I hope Mike Vick bounces a hail-mary off that baby. Because that would be ridiculous and absurd and hilarious JUST LIKE THE DALLAS COWBOYS!!!!!

Posted by: ZeroHero0 | August 26, 2009 10:54 PM

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