Cowboys Stadium attendance falls off

IRVING, Texas -- Unless more than 101,000 attend Saturday’s game with Philadelphia at Cowboys Stadium, the team will have the lowest numbers of fans see the Cowboys play in the $1.2 billion stadium’s three-year run.

Through seven games, the announced crowds have totaled 595,253 (85,036 average). Last year the Cowboys had 696,377 fans at their eight regular-season home games, good for an average of 87,047.

In the stadium’s first year, 2009, the Cowboys had 718,055 with an average of 89,757.

In 2009, the Cowboys had four crowds of at least 90,000 (and two at more than 100,000). In 2010, they had three crowds of 90,000-plus. So far this year, they have had one game with more than 90,000. On Dec. 11 they had 92,952 fans watch the 37-34 loss to the New York Giants.

Don't read too much into the drop. The Cowboys should lead the league in total attendance.

But why the drop? I’d put most of it on the quality of opponents outside of the division: Detroit, St. Louis, Seattle, Buffalo and Miami. Only the Lions have a winning record.

There should be real concern next year if the crowds aren’t larger. In addition to their NFC East foes, the Cowboys will host New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and an NFC North team depending on the final standings. If the Cowboys win the NFC East, then Green Bay would visit Arlington.

The Saints drew 93,985 last year on Thanksgiving. Fans of Pittsburgh and Green Bay travel as well as any team in the league, including the Cowboys.