The Dallas Morning News has a long editorial (or maybe a column? hard to say, as online it’s unsigned) today asking why the Cowboys built their stadium in Arlington instead of Dallas. (This prompted by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recounting how he spurned Dallas after Mayor Laura Miller patted him on the knee.) Among the questions posed:
Was the loss of Cowboys Stadium a failure of leadership or was a Fair Park location a fantasy that had no chance of becoming reality, particularly with Jones shopping for the best deal available? …
Where was the council? Where were the opposition leaders who gleefully blocked Miller on other issues?
Of course, who really knows if a stadium could have been built in Dallas? Fair Park was too small for what towers over Arlington.
All fine questions, but missing is one big one: Would Dallas have been better off if it had built a stadium instead of Arlington? After all, Arlington had to kick in $325 million and displace local businesses to make way for the Cowboys’ new digs; Dallas residents, meanwhile, still get to go to the games, but are spared the expense. Arlington presumably gets some added tax revenues as a result of the stadium, but it’s still a worthwhile question: Did Dallas win by losing? If so, maybe that knee-pat, if it really happened, wasn’t so inexplicable after all.