Let’s add punting to the list of things that Jerry Jones knows less about than he thinks he does. And the placement of HD Jumbotrons in his new stadium. And…well, I’ll just stop there, because we could go on all day like this with issues that aren’t really relevant to the story at hand: while the debut of the new Cowboys Stadium might have been a success last night, ESPN says the stadium is a punter’s nightmare because of the enormous, low-hanging HD screen in the middle of the stadium.
In fact, Titans punter A.J. Trapasso managed to hit the screen with a punt in third quarter in Tennessee’s preseason game against Dallas - the debut of the new stadium. And while Trapasso has a leg on him, this wasn’t a display of punting prowess like Ray Guy hitting the screen at the Superdome, either - this seems like a problem that is going again and again.
Video of Trapasso’s punt plunking the video screen after the jump:
And it wasn’t just one punt: both Trapasso and starting Titans punter Craig Hentrich said they hit the screen multiple times with punts during warm-ups, with Hentrich adding that there is no way this set-up is going to work:
“I hit it probably a dozen times in pregame,” Hentrich said. “Probably somewhere around a five-second punt is going to hit it and some of the guys in the league wouldn’t be able to punt here if it’s not raised, they’d just be non-stop hitting it. I don’t know what the people were thinking. I guess they should have tested things out before they put that thing in place. It’ll have to be raised.”
“Don’t know what people were thinking”? Let me tell you something, Mr. Fancy Pants Punter, that person was Jerry Jones, and clearly he knows a lot more about the fine art of punting than you ever will:
Jones said a punter needed to kick the ball “straight up and hard” to have any chance of making contact with the board. He didn’t understand why anyone would take that approach.
Yes, because I can’t imagine why a punter would want to kick the ball hard, or high in the air. Distance and hang time are such underrated stats for punters anyway. (Which explains why Cowboys punter Matt McBriar never came close to hitting the scoreboard in warm-ups - it’s the Cowboys innovative “low and soft” punting style that is sure to revolutionize the game.)
And let’s keep in mind that in the course of three preseason games, Trapasso has managed to execute the greatest fake punt ever and hit a scoreboard. And somehow this guy is probably going to get cut! Seriously, if this kid isn’t punting somewhere in thew NFL by the end of the season, I’m not watching ever again.