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Cowboys lead the NFL in (over) filling their stadium

The crowd at AT&T Stadium may not always be loud, but it is certainly big.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have a long-standing and earned reputation as the biggest TV draw in the NFL. But they also have a problem with not getting much of a home advantage at AT&T Stadium. The crowds there seem to be a bit lackluster when it comes to cheering the home team on, partly due to how many fans of visiting teams come to see the show at the Palace that Jerry Built. But one thing is for certain: Loud or not, loyal or not, people come to see the show. According to a bit of research done by, they have the highest fill rate in the NFL over the past ten years, averaging 108.1% of capacity.

Given that the stadium has one of the highest capacities in the league at 80,000 (the largest stadiium, MetLife which is home to both the New York Giants and the New York Jets, is 82,500), that means that the Cowboys have more people than anyone else. Both NY teams average in the mid 90s for percentage, and at Lambeau Field (cap. 81,435) where the Green Bay Packers play, the average is 102%, which puts the Cowboys slightly in the lead. It is another testament to the popularity of America’s Team.

Now, there is a bit of sleight of hand involved in the Dallas numbers. The capacity listed is for seats, excluding box suites and standing-room-only areas. AT&T Stadium has a large complement of those luxury suites, while it also has the Party Pass SRO areas offering relatively affordable admittance in one of the highest priced venues in the league. That is why the attendance is almost always above 100%. Still, the bodies are there for every game.

The popularity of Cowboys games is affected by how the team is doing in the standings as well. In years that they miss out on the postseason, the attendance “only” averages 105.7% of capacity. But when they do play into January, they have the biggest jump in numbers of any NFL franchise, with a huge 113.5%. Given the struggles the team has had in recent years in getting to the playoffs, it is clear that winning is a big plus for the bottom line. They also may have benefited from several recent years where they were still in contention until December, often times down to the last game.

The Cowboys have always been a huge draw, maintaining their status as one of the true glamour franchises through thick and thin. And they get a boost from the stadium itself, still one of the premier facilities even as new ones open. The monster video screens, the famous Cowboys Cheerleaders, the Rhythm and Blue Dancers, and the artwork placed throughout make AT&T Stadium nearly as much a part of the show as the game itself.

While the team is still trying to find a way to consistently field a contender, they remain the top draw in the league. And if they ever do find a way to string some back-to-back playoff runs together, it will just get better. America’s team is the Metroplex’s team as well.

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