Dallas' New Hit: The Video Board Mini-Game

NC NighthawkAnalyst IAugust 22, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 21:  Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones (center) talks with two unidentified individuals before the Cowboys take on the Tennessee Titans during a preseason game at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on August 21, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

“The kick is up, up, and into the scoreboard!”

In the first exhibition game at the brand new Cowboys Stadium, a new mini-game auditioning for Madden NFL 11 was demonstrated: Hit the Video Board!

Imagine connecting my Xbox 360 to the Cowboys Stadium video board and playing Madden NFL 10, in true high definition glory. 

Yes, this was one of the new comical, hilarious, fun NFL events (albeit it’s only preseason) that will forever endure in NFL lore. Yes, it will be the lead highlight of the next NFL Follies DVD, in high definition of course.

Tennessee Titans rookie punter A.J. Trapasso's boot in the third quarter of the opening game at the new Cowboys stadium hit one of the 60-yard long high-definition video screens that hang about 90 feet above the field.

Measuring 160 feet wide and 72 feet tall (11,520 sq. feet), the high-definition television screen at Cowboys Stadium is the world's largest. It hangs about 90 feet above the playing surface,

As a young child growing up on a city street in Atlanta, GA, I remember punting high, aiming at street lights, with the purpose to barely miss. Luckily, my stupid idea never resulted in busting a street light.

For if I ever hit and busted a street light, my parents would have ultimately found out and then my little, uh, “Trapasso,” would have been spanked. 

However, once my old, worn leather football blew like a car tire upon impact on a hanging electric wire and landed flat and unusable on the street. Then with my new football, I returned to long asphalt punting for enhanced bounced, roll, and distance.

I bet that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones never played or practiced punting high and short. However, it’s a good chance that Tennessee Titans rookie punter A.J. Trapasso played all sorts of punting games as a child and teenager.

However, perhaps Jerry and A.J. have something in common: they make a “Trapasso” out of themselves too frequently. Just kidding.

Trapasso pointed up at the board when the ball dropped straight down. Officials were slow to realize what happened until Titans coach Jeff Fisher threw his red challenge flag to get their attention.

Apparently, these referees were both blind and deaf, if they did not see or hear the ball hit the scoreboard, assuming that the football made a noise upon contact on the video board.

If it made a sound, it probably was not the traditional “doink” we hear when a field goal attempt hits the goalposts. My guess it was more of a “thud” or “bam” type of sound. 

Go outside and throw a football against a house with vinyl siding. Well, make sure that it is either your house, or it’s okay with the house owner.

That may or may not be close to this sound that I am imagining.

By rule, the ball was dead and fourth down was replayed. Trapasso's ensuing kick skimmed just to the side of the board without touching it.

Titans coach Jeff Fischer said the screen will have to be raised. Trapasso and veteran Titans punter Craig Hentrich both hit the screen during pregame warm-ups, but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says there are no plans to raise to the massive screens any higher.

In a postgame interview, Jerry Jones snapped “Kiss my Trapasso!” towards a reporter.  No, Jones didn’t say that, but he did snap. 

Jones reportedly said something more defensive than offensive. Should the video board be raised higher?

Jones snapped: “That's not the point. How high is high if somebody just wants to sit there and kick straight up? If you look at how you punt the football, unless you're trying to hit the scoreboard, you punt the ball to get downfield. You certainly want to get some hang time, but you punt the ball to get downfield, and you sure don't punt the ball down the middle. You punt it off to the side."

Apparently, Jones does not value the aspect of hang time in the punting game. Cowboys punter Mat McBriar did not come close to hitting the screen.

Jones said there isn't any room to raise the screen but the NFL is investigating the situation. It sounds like Jones plans to argue against any changes to the screen, and he should because the video board cost $40 million, more than Texas Stadium!

Vivid accounts of the beauty and awesomeness of the brand new state-of-the-art Cowboys Stadium should have been overflowing in the news and blogs today, but “The Dallas Cowboys Stadium Punt Scandal” rules not only today but throughout the week, especially on sports talk radio.

My initial impression of Cowboys Stadium is that it is obviously an excellent experience for the fan. The retractable roof, or any roof, is a negative for me.

Real football was meant and intended to be played and performed outdoor in the real weather and elements. Additionally, the stadium should be name Tom Landry Stadium, not Cowboys Stadium.

As we learn more about the specifics and quirks of this new stadium, it will establish its own character, we will discover so much to like and enjoy, but we will also learn of things, like this video scoreboard/high definition TV, which will need to be modified.

What ultimately matters is the team itself. If Dallas wins, and especially if the Cowboys make the playoffs and win, the stadium’s quirks and shortcomings won’t loom as large as if the team continues to underachieve and disappoint its fans.

The new video scoreboards at Cowboys Stadium are a huge hit, they took a hit from a punted football, and verbal hits are aimed at Jerry Jones and his prized franchise.

If Jones does not raise the scoreboard and if more punts hit the scoreboard, then this fuels the circus in Dallas and produces another unproductive distraction, but it’s excellent fodder for joke writers and sports bloggers.




Quote of the Day:

“When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth.”  George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)


Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

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