Cowboys Stadium is a workout

01/05/2012 12:00 AM

08/05/2014 5:32 PM

ARLINGTON, Texas — Barbara Barrett says her life has changed in two ways since becoming a tour guide at Cowboys Stadium nearly three years ago.

She doesn't need a gym membership anymore. With each tour she gives, covering 1 1/2 miles and 3 million square feet, she proclaims, "I get my exercise."

She has to laugh at her husband's go-to joke every time they leave the stadium together. He stands 5-foot-8, but after walking around the state-of-the-art, massive facility that Jerry Jones built in 2009, he likes to say he feels 6-foot-2 when he leaves.

That's life for someone who spends a good portion of her time in a place as big as Cowboys Stadium, the site for tonight's Cotton Bowl.

"It's pretty awesome," Barrett said. "Everyone is in awe of it."

Members of the Kansas State and Arkansas football teams certainly were impressed when they toured the complex and began practicing in it earlier this week.

Many stood amazed underneath the gargantuan video board that hangs above the field and stretches from 20-yard line to 20-yard line. Others admired the 80,000-plus seats and some simply pointed out places on the field where NFL players have made big plays in regular-season games and the Super Bowl.

"In a word, it's extravagant," senior offensive lineman Zach Hanson said.

Arkansas players have been here before. They have played a neutral-site game against Texas A&M in Arlington the past two seasons. The Razorbacks are undefeated in the building and consider it a home field.

That could be an advantage for them today, considering it is easy to get distracted by all the high-tech gadgets that aren't at most Big 12 stadiums.

But Arkansas linebacker Jerico Nelson said both teams will have to deal with that issue.

"Every time I come in here, I just look up at that screen and think, 'Wow,' " Nelson said. "I'll be catching punts in warmups just saying to myself, 'It's so big.' You never get used to it."

The Razorbacks insist that is not hyperbole. They played in the Sugar Bowl last season, and say the Louisiana Superdome doesn't compare to Cowboys Stadium, which is also known as "JerryWorld" for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones — a former Arkansas player.

"This beats every stadium that I've ever seen or heard about," Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg said. "Just the way the seats are, the way the screen lights up, everything that they have hanging up here... it's just amazing."

Barrett feels the same way. No matter how many times she walks through the stadium, she feels blown away.

"I've been to other stadiums to see concerts and stuff since I've been here, but they just don't compare," she said. "This is the best stadium there is."

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