It's a good week to be Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
In 2010, Jones' new behemoth of a football arena, Cowboys Stadium, hosted six Texas state football championship games to great fanfare a couple months before it hosted the Super Bowl. In 2011, the home of the Dallas Cowboys will get even more title games.
Cowboys Stadium in Arlington
According to the Austin American-Statesman and a handful of other sources, Texas' University Interscholastic League announced Monday that all 10 of the state's 2011 11-man football state title games would be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. It currently remains undetermined whether those 10 games will be spread across two days -- as the six title games in 2010 were -- or three days in December, though spreading the games across three days would seem to be a more logical solution.
According to comments given to both the Statesman on Monday and the Dallas Morning News after the 2010 slate of games, the UIL clearly viewed its first foray into Cowboys Stadium as an overwhelming success. The organization sold at least 10,000 tickets to each of the six games played at the Arlington site in 2010, and saw a massive, 43,321-person crowd watch the marquee Class 5A, Division I state final at which Pearland (Texas) High knocked off national power Euless (Texas) Trinity High, 28-24.
That 43,000 paid attendance marked the third largest crowd for a championship game in Texas history, trailing only two prior title games played at other Dallas-area venues (the now demolished Texas Stadium and the Cotton Bowl, to be precise). The Class 5A crowd also outdrew a whopping 16 of the holiday season's college football bowl games.
Whether hosting all of the state's title games at the same site will help push the total attendance above the 1977 record mark of 49, 953 remains to be seen, but UIL officials seem bullish that hosting all 10 games in one place will bring an even larger walk-up crowd than the title games received in 2010.
"From the comments we got from the players, coaches and fans last year, almost all of them were positive," UIL director of athletics Mark Cousins told the Texas High School Coaches Association convention. "[The 2010 games at Cowboys Stadium were] an overwhelming success."
While the massive haul of ticket revenue and demonstrated fan interest might seem to make Arlington seem like a natural to serve as an annual host to the title games, UIL officials insisted that wouldn't be the case. Instead, they insisted that the 11-man championship games will continue to rotate between sites in the Dallas, Houston and San Antonio areas, as they have for a number of years.
- Cowboys Stadium