Bus stop: Romo, Ware look sharp
SAN ANTONIO -- We had a blast Friday when Jerry Jones gave us a two-hour tour of Cowboys Stadium, the new Eighth Wonder of the Sporting World. Nothing we could put on video does the facility justice. Regardless of whether you are a Cowboys fan or hater, you need to see this place.
What stood out most? The HD-quality video screens that hang from the ceiling and face both sides and both end zones. Stunning stuff. The stadium is vast but intimate. It has so much space on the concourses that the Cowboys decided to sell thousands of $29 "party passes" -- game tickets that are standing-room-only but allow fans to move around and up and down to about two-thirds of the stadium.
We boarded the bus a little later than planned and didn't arrive until 4 a.m. at the Alamodome in San Antonio, where the Cowboys will conduct training camp for at least the next two summers. My cameraman, Rick Mickler, was so proud that he got a shot of the Alamo as we drove past it; of course, that allowed me to sleep well in the back of the bus.
We finally saw some football this morning as the Cowboys conducted the first of two practices in full pads.
In speaking with coaches before practice, I asked them whether there was truly anything different about this offseason and camp. Without any of them comparing notes, they basically had the same theme: It's all football. No distractions. Great chemistry.
They could have been referring to Terrell Owens' absence. They could have been referring to the HBO "Hard Knocks" scrutiny from a year ago. One thing that doesn't change is that the Cowboys always are a big draw with fans. There were more than 23,000 fans at both practices, including a Cowboys record 13,708 for the afternoon workout.
The proof is always in the regular season, but here's what I learned and observed Saturday:
Chris Mortensen is a senior NFL analyst for ESPN.
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MORT GOES TO CAMP
ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen's 21-team bus tour of training camps is over. Mort's trip started in Arlington, Texas, where he met Dallas owner Jerry Jones at the team's new stadium and ended in Miami Gardens, Fla., for a visit with the Dolphins. Mort camp page