Touring Dallas Cowboys Stadium during Super Bowl XLV Media Day

Super Bowl XLV. It was most certainly one for the record books. Well over 100,000 people flowed into Cowboys Stadium in the heart of North Texas to watch two of the NFL’s most storied teams do battle. The Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers put on an amazing spectacle, and I was able to take part in one small way. I made my way into Arlington for Super Bowl Media Day — a frenzied event that saw over 1,000 credentialed media crowd the field for their chance to interview their favorite players and coaches. Two of the league’s most historic teams, both on the field of the newest, most awe-inspiring stadium in the NFL. It was a spectacular scene, and a journey I won’t ever forget. The good news for you is that even though the Super Bowl is over, Cowboys Stadium remains open for business.

How so, you ask? The team has set up a program for tourists, locals and curious fans alike to actually take a tour of the new Cowboys Stadium. Tours are given seven days a week, with two primary options for entry. Of course, a general tour won’t involve speaking to players of the Packers or Steelers, but it will involve a thorough walkthrough of the NFL’s most astounding and technologically advanced venue. Read on to catch a glimpse of what you’ll see should you make the trip down (or up!).

%Gallery-116470%Aside from the fact that players were on the field and more willing than ever to sign an autograph rather than answer yet another question directly related to sports, a normal Cowboys Stadium tour isn’t too different than a Super Bowl Media Day tour. I was granted access to a special side entrance as well as a rear conference room, a look at the technology that powers the stadium (more on that angle here and here) and field-level access to the players, but other than that, my experience would pretty much mimic yours.

My first suggestion would be to splurge on the VIP Tour. If you make the trip over to Arlington, it’s worth the $10 per person upcharge to get a legitimate VIP experience. This runs $27.50 for adults (or $20 per person with a group of 20+ people), or $22.50 for children and seniors. The cheaper self-guided tour lacks the insider knowledge that the VIP Tour provides, giving you full access to the Pro Shop, field, locker rooms, Miller Lite Club and the post-game interview room. There are Tour Guides stations in each area to answer your questions, but the VIP Tour goes above and beyond. With that, you’ll begin at the Main club and then tour a private suite, the radio / print media press boxes, the Cotton Bowl offices, the Dr. Pepper Star Bar and the Ford Motor Company Fountain.

Following those stops, a guide will take you down to the event level where you’ll see all of the stops on the Self-Guided Tours. Afterwards, you’ll end the tour in the Pro Shop where you’ll get a complimentary 6- x 8-inch photo to remember the experience. Like I said, the $10 upcharge seems justified.

As for my experience? It was outstanding. The 72- x 160-foot Mitsubishi Electric HD display hanging from the roof is truly a sight that has to be seen to be believed. It’s an expansive place — the roof can be opened up if the weather is nice, and it’s very obvious just how new this place is. Being able to get on the field holds even more meaning now that the Packers and Steelers have christened it with a Super Bowl, and for fans of the NFL (or sports in general), it’s a breathtaking experience. You really can’t judge just how huge the place is until you’re there. I kept wishing that I could actually return for a game after being on the field with legendary players, and there’s no doubt that this tour will get you hooked and hoping to come back for more. There looks to be hardly a bad seat in the house, and from a tech perspective, there’s plenty to appreciate. Over 800 wireless routers are there to provide reliable internet access through games (for those who like to tweet or upload images / videos of the action), and there have been improvements made in wireless cellphone coverage for similar reasons.

During my tour, I also learned of things to come from Cowboys CIO Pete Walsh and systems architects from CDW. The organization is hoping to tie a good deal of technology into future events. Things like iPhone apps for ordering food (and potentially having it delivered to your seat based on GPS), real-time statistics and on-demand replays on your phone or tablet. These guys are gunning for “the ultimate fan experience,” and it shows. They’ve got the perfect venue to provide that, and if you’re halfway through a cross-country road trip, why not make a day to tour the NFL’s most technologically advanced stadium? Have a look at my tour in the images throughout to get a feel for what you’d get to see, and then head here to book a time and day that fits your schedule.

Super Bowl bound? Check out these ten travel friendly gadgets for your trip!

People who watch the Super Bowl at home use the big game as an excuse to shop for a new big screen TV – but can you use the game as an excuse to go gadget shopping? You bet you can.

We’ve collected ten gadgets that can make the trip to Arlington even more exciting – from a neat product that can send your Super Bowl photos to the Internet as soon as you make them, to a device you leave at home that allows you to watch the Super Bowl commercials (and other fun content) on your phone or laptop – no matter where you are.

[AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez]

Eye-Fi wireless memory card

Made some amazing photos of the “big game”? Find yourself a Wi-Fi hotspot, turn your camera on, and send them instantly to a variety of online photo services – including Facebook, Picasa and YouTube (for videos). Cards work in any device that takes SD memory cards, as well as several recent camcorders.

Product page: Eye.Fi
Price: from $49.99

Super Bowl mobile apps

There are 100’s of mobile applications designed just for the Super Bowl. Some are useless – others provide everything you’d ever need for the big game in a single app. Apps are available for almost every mobile platform, but you’ll obviously find the best quality stuff in the mobile market of your iPhone or Android device.

For iPhone specific apps, check out our friends at

Prodcuct page: iPhone App Store, Android Marketplace, Blackberry App world
Price: from free

Pocket HD Camcorder

The rules at most stadiums prohibit camcorders – but thanks to the current generation of pocket HD camcorders, you won’t have a problem getting one of these past the checkpoint. Just keep in mind that almost none of these shooter will feature a zoom lens (other than digital zoom), so if you want a close-up of that hot guy or girl 50 rows away, you’ll be better off with a decent digital camera with HD video support.

Product page: Flip Camera
Price: from $149.99

Balanzza Mini Luggage scales

Prevent disappointment at the airport by investing $25 in a compact luggage scale -especially if you went a little crazy at one of the merchandise stands at the stadium, your airline may want a big chunk of whatever cash you have left to let your overweight luggage back on the plane.

Thank goodness airlines don’t weigh passengers (yet) – all that stadium food would cost a fortune to load on the plane!

Product page: Balanzza Mini
Price: $24.95

Vulkano Multimedia streamer

Catch pre-game TV by streaming your home cable or satellite signal over the Internet to your mobile phone or laptop. Simply hook the Vulkano up to your home AV system, and the box sends TV anywhere in the world – including to your smartphone when you are waiting for the game to begin. Bonus: watch the halftime commercials as the are broadcast.

Product page: Monsoon Multimedia Vulkano
Price: from $109.99 (with promo code)

XtremeMac InCharge Mobile

Traveling with an iPhone usually means having to decide between using your phone all day long and running out of battery life by dinner time, or only using your phone for emergencies. If you want to take full advantage of your phone at the game, consider the new XtremeMac InCharge Mobile. This 2300mAh battery pack can almost triple your normal battery life.

To top it all off, the InCharge Mobile also features a built in kickstand, LED battery indicator and MicroUSB charger/sync port.

Product page: XtremeMac
Price: $79.99

Scottevest jacket or vest

Carrying all your gadgets to the game in a backpack or other carrier can be a pain in the backside – especially when you need your hands to carry beer and burgers. A Scottevest jacket has up to 25 different pockets, some large enough to hold an iPad or other large device. Jackets come in a variety of styles, colors and sizes.

Product page: Scottevest
Price: from $100

Nikon S8100 digital camera

The new Nikon S8100 is a compact digital camera with a 10x optical zoom, full HD video and easy to use controls. Best of all, the camera can be found for under $250 – making it a fantastic bargain.

Product page: Nikon S8100
Price: $299 (MSRP, $249 in most retail stores)

Joby Gorollapod Tripod

Large tripods are banned from the stadium, but compact flexible tripods from Joby won’t bother anyone. The newest magnetic tripods from Joby can be stuck to metal or wrapped around almost any other object.

Product page: Joby Gorillapod
Price: from $19.95

Monster Mobile Jamz headphones

The atmosphere in the stadium may be exploding – but sometimes you may want to just listen to some of your own music before the game begins. Good noise isolating headphones can block out a massive amount of outside noise and let you relax in relative peave and quiet. The Monster Mobile Jamz headphones feature an in-line remote control and powerful noise isolation.

Product page: Monster Mobile Jamz
Price: $149.95