So the Redskins' new video scoreboards may not technically be bigger than what football fans see in Cowboys Stadium. But that doesn't mean they're not better, said Washington owner Daniel Snyder.
"This is as good as you get quality-wise," Snyder said Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field. "These are sharper definition than you'll see down in Texas."
Just five days before the Redskins play their first preseason game, Snyder led a tour for media outlets to show off the new video scoreboards and other stadium upgrades. Snyder has dropped about $20 million this offseason to spruce up FedEx Field, highlighted of course by the pair of scoreboards, each measuring 100 feet in length, in either end zone.
Snyder also took reporters to the club level to visit Sean Taylor's locker. The locker was relocated from Redskins Park and re-assembled on the club level for permanent display. Team employees put the locker back together just as Taylor had left it, and it's encased behind protective glass. While many fans don't have access to the club level during games, the locker is expected to be a regular part of stadium tours.
(If you're curious what the locker and new scoreboards actually look like, be sure to check back here later. We'll have visuals to share.)
Upgrades to FedEx Field have been in the planning stages for 1 1/2 years. Construction began the day after the 2009 regular season ended and work will continue through this Thursday night. Snyder said everything should be ready to go when fans start filing into the stadium Friday night.
"It's a process, for sure," Snyder said. "We're hoping all will go well on Friday."
Team officials initially weren't sure just how big of scoreboards they could install at the stadium. "I was like, 'What do we have to do? We have to move this and build that?" Snyder said. But they were able to put up the two boards and not affect the stadium's capacity.
The team has also added club level party decks above the scoreboards, renovated the team's video control room -- a NASA-like area that will operate the boards -- added more than 1,000 cash parking spaces ($40 per car, located at Brightseat and Landover Road). The team has also added a text message traffic alert system
"I think one of the things that takes place when a stadium is now a decade old is that it needs to be upgraded," Snyder said. "When it was first built, high-definition didn't exist at the time in this capacity. We said, 'Hey, this is a real opportunity,' so we upgraded it."
The team will continue testing the scoreboards all week, running nightly rehearsals at FedEx Field. Snyder hopes the overall gameday experience will be competitive with the top venues in the NFL, particularly that one Jerry Jones runs down in Texas.
"This is a little clearer than his," Snyder said of his giant video scoreboards. "I think this is a secure location, not above your head. I think this is good for all 90,000 here. You don't have to be on the sidelines to see it."
While Snyder hopes a Super Bowl in New York helps Washington's chances of someday hosting the annual championship game, the new scoreboards certainly don't hurt either.
"It's still a new stadium. I'm most proud of the fact that it's still a great stadium," he said. "It's one that we're building a tradition [around] and starting it [with] Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan. So we've got something to build here."