By Tyler Scott
SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium experienced an about-face transformation as BYU and Tulsa were set to face off in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on Friday Dec. 30 at 11 AM.
The most noticeable changes to the stadium included the large Armed Forces Bowl logo badging covering the red SMU Mustang on the 50-yard line. Tulsa boasted it’s signature royal blue accompanied by white letters in the south end zone, as BYU displayed it’s own BYU blue with white “BYU” lettering in the north end zone.
Bell Helicopter, now in its ninth season as the bowl’s sponsor, made its mark on Ford Stadium by supplying large signs to cover the 8 foot brick wall behind each team’s bench. Signage with large Armed Forces Bowl logos also appeared on the home entrance of the stadium and wrapped each field goal post.
Signage and team badging were certainly not the extent of the setup. Bell Helicopter displayed three functioning military helicopters at the top of Gerald Ford’s distinctive south grass area. Lining the top of the grass were multiple independent mobile food vendors and advertising kiosks.
Flags honoring each branch of the United States Armed Forces flew behind the fans on sitting on the east side of the stadium. The three large flagpoles in the south end zone were draped with the American, Texas and POW-MIA flags respectively.
Bell Helicopter and the Armed Forces bowl staff performed quite a makeover at Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The staff will have to change gears next year as the bowl game will return to Fort Worth in TCU’s renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium after a two-year hiatus to Dallas and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the rapidly-growing classic.