Although the Horned Frogs are ranked among the best in the nation in college football, the TCU community witnessed true professional football Wednesday afternoon when the Dallas Cowboys practiced at the Sam Baugh Indoor Practice Facility.
The Cowboys had to practice indoors because of excessive rain in the area. They were preparing for Sunday’s trip to play the Washington Redskins.
The field at Cowboys Stadium was unavailable Wednesday because crews were already setting up for a Tim McGraw concert Friday night &- a promotional event for Super Bowl XLV. The indoor facility at Valley Ranch, the Cowboys’ usual practice location, was destroyed May 2009 in an extreme storm that injured 12, including some coaches.
The Cowboys contacted TCU earlier this week to discuss practicing in Fort Worth, Director of Athletics Media Relations Mark Cohen said.
“It was all contingent on the weather,” Cohen said. “We have a great relationship with the Cowboys 8212; we played in Cowboys Stadium Saturday night and practiced there two Fridays earlier in the season.”
Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager, and son Stephen, executive vice president and chief operating officer, were in attendance. Jerry Jones showed enthusiasm for TCU’s recent season opener win over Oregon State.
“I can’t tell you how much I was rooting [for] TCU to win that ball game,” Jones said. “The last thing I wanted was for the Frogs to not win the first game in our new stadium.”
Stephen Jones expressed his thanks for TCU’s hospitality while the Cowboys faced inclement weather conditions.
“I can’t say enough about the athletic department and the university extending their hand and helping us out,” he said.
As far as the football complex itself, he added “You don’t get these facilities without having capital and people don’t get too excited about giving money unless it’s to a winning program. Obviously Coach Patterson’s done a great job.”
While the practice was mostly closed to the press, university students and members of the local community were present and allowed to watch practice and take pictures.
Andrea Gouldy, a senior education major, watched the Cowboys practice for a few hours.
“This is probably one of the most exciting days of my life,” Gouldy said. “I love football, so this was a really great opportunity to come out and watch them.”
Wednesday marked the first time an NFL team has practiced at the university, but the AFC Championship team will practice here early next year, prior to Super Bowl XLV.
No TCU Football players were available for comment Wednesday evening after their practice, but Coach Gary Patterson commented on the value of the experience for his players and staff.
“It was great having them on campus,” Patterson said. “We had an opportunity to see how professionals go about their business. It was a positive for everyone.”
Although the entire Horned Frog team was not present during the Cowboys’ practice, a few special teams players got a glimpse of the action from the sidelines.