Skip to main content

When being 'High' on HD isn't quite High Enough

It's one thing when new HD mega-displays at a growing number of sports arenas attract attention as a way to enhance the overall experience of attending a game in-person. But it's another thing when the HD screen itself becomes part of the game. Or, in the case of last weekend's Dallas Cowboys exhibition contest — an aerial obstruction for the opposing team's kick-offs.

The Cowboys say it's the largest HD screen housed in a sports arena anywhere in the world. (It is, after all, deep in the heart of Texas.) But unlike virtually all other huge HD-quality screens at a football facility (60 X 25 yards, or 13, 500 sq. ft.) the Dallas display is suspended over the middle of the playing field. About 90 feet over it, to be precise.

That may sound high enough but the visiting team, the Tennessee Titans, wound up using the display for "target practice" prior to the game — while one back-up kicker actually hit it during the game itself. While fans were in awe of the world's largest high-definition screens - roughly 60 yards wide, 25 yards high and as clear as any 52-incher - punters for the Tennessee Titans [team stats] used it for target practice before and during the preseason home opener Friday night and had little trouble hitting it, according to the AP.

In mid-October (several regular-season games into the new season), the scoreboard will have to be raised for a U2 concert. But as of right now, that's only expected to be a temporary adjustment.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he's confident the HD screen's height will prove to be fine for future games, especially, he says, since most punters don't intentionally try to kick the ball as high as they can (an arguable point).

But the co-chairman of the influential NFL Competition Committee says otherwise. Jeff Fisher thinks the HD display may need to be adjusted upward. And Fisher has seen firsthand what problems the new HD mega-screen in Dallas can cause: He's the Tennessee coach.