The Rams' Ed Jones Dome is getting $30 million to make some much needed improvements. The project, besides tweaking the suites, includes a fancy new scoreboard, and an effort to bring some light into the building. All of them are much needed fixes to a stadium not aging well enough to keep it among the top quarter of facilities in the league by 2015 as stipulated in the lease. Could that change now?
The economy, as you may have heard, isn't doing very well right now, and the era of billion dollar stadiums might be at a halt. With construction slowing and financing for such projects drying up, some of the projects expected to put the Ed Jones Dome in the middle of the pack and out of favor with the Rams lease, might be held back until things pick up again. And you can probably count taxpayers assisted stadiums outside the realm of the possible right now; paying higher taxes for a stadium when your house - if you still have one - is worth $20K less than what you paid for it doesn't make it a popular ballot issue. This is all speculation, obviously. But it's worth watching to see if new stadiums continue to get built right now, and if that does happen, how close is the EJD to that top quarter mark? Probably not as far off as it might have been when those halcyon days of credit swaps and derivatives trading and no-risk investments were rolling along.
Now, with that ugly economy question out of the way, let's get back to deluding ourselves that everything's going to be just fine. When I heard about the renovations to the Dome a couple of ideas sprang to mind, the kind of ideas that would easily make the Dome one the top facilities and/or experiences in the league, from any perspective. Submitted for your consideration, 5 improvements to the EJD.
- Steven Jackson's nickel jukebox. SJ once called the musical selections heard over the PA at the Dome lame, so why not let the teams top skill player take a shot at being DJ? But, three bad songs in a row and somebody's gettin' a colonic.
- Claude Wroten banned substance night. Wow, man, this game sure is moving slow. This event also features a tie-in with the baseball Cardinals, featuring Mark McGwire.
- Mike Martz presents "You make the call." Fans get a voting box at their seat and get to pick from three different plays...all featuring four WR sets...with the QB sacked each time.
- Jay Zygmunt punching bags. Simple enough, each seat has a padded top with Jay Zygmunt's image pasted onto it. Bad call? Punch it. Alex Barron offsides? Punch it. Former Rams allowed to walk makes a great play? Punch it really, really hard. The front office might have to work out some compromise with the seat holder in front of you...maybe a Fakhir Brown revolving ticket?
- Richie Incognito's "I can't hear you" interactive scoreboard. What better way to promote more fan interaction than have Richie Incognito's mug up on the scoreboard every now and again sophomorically signaling to fans that he can't hear them.