ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Planning for transforming Cowboys Stadium for the Super Bowl kicked off almost as soon as the stadium opened its roof for the first time.
“We’ve been planning for over two years now,” said Bill McConnell, the Director of Event Operations for the NFL. “And our teams have been working closely with the cowboys and with the stadium staff. Of course it intensifies as the calender gets closer.”
It’s a startling sight for Cowboys fans as they enter the stadium and see the field for the first time. The end-zones, normally emblazoned with the silver and blue, are now brightly decked out in the colors of other teams — and not just any teams, but historic championship rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers.
The Cowboys played the Packers in the 1967 Championship game that went down in history as ‘The Ice Bowl’. The Steelers and Cowboys have faced off in three Super Bowls — and the Steelers have bested the Cowboys in two of them.
Crews, using large paint sprayers, work carefully along prelaid patterns to draw team logos and fill in the area from corner to corner in the end-zone with color. Just 28 workers will leave their mark not just here, but all across North Texas.
“We have 28 [workers] here,” explained NFL Field Director Ed Mangan. “But we not only do this field, we do the two practice fields at SMU. We have two practice fields at TCU. And we also do all the artwork at the convention center for the NFL Experience. We’re on the move quite a bit!”
Some 2,000 people are working around the clock to add decoration, hang lights and run wiring for the game, pregame, halftime and post-game shows.
There has also been seating added — a lot of it. “There’s about 15,000 extra seats we were able to put in place here and things we were able to do with the rails and the bowl seating,” Cowboys Stadium spokesman Brett Daniels said of the endeavor. McConnell added, “We’re going to try to get as many people in to see the Super Bowl as we can.”
The ‘party zone’ is now the bleacher belt. The large, glass end-zone doors, where sunlight normally streams through unobstructed, now has towering matrixes of temporary seating dimming the light.
Whole sections of seats are being add behind existing sections around the bowl area. Some have views partially or entirely obscured by awnings and pillars. One section, where a fan might be able to see from the 30-yard line nearest him to the opposite end-zone, is selling seats online for $550 a ticket.
Planners say they’ll look at each individual seat to decide if they’ll keep it for game day and they’ll work right up until game day to squeeze as many people as possible into the event that’s been two-years in the making.