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The 400 Super Bowl ticket holders who lost their seats at Cowboys Stadium because a temporary seating structure wasn't approved by a fire marshal will be guests at next year's Super Bowl, the NFL announced on Monday. Displaced fans will also receive $2,400, triple the face value of the $800 tickets that went to waste.
The move was the league's initial attempt at damage control from the embarrassing incident, which they admitted to knowing about early last week. It's a fine effort but makes the mistake of presuming that more tickets and money can replace the experience of watching your favorite team in the Super Bowl.
"It's not the money. It's the whole issue. We came here for the memories and it's not happening," said Wayne Rusch, a Green Bay Packers fan told CNN on Sunday.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote on his Twitter account:
What, no coupon book? I get that the NFL wants to make a nice overture toward the displaced fans, but how are a few hot dogs and Pepsis going to make up for the fact that some people traveled for days and incurred huge costs to watch their favorite team play in the Super Bowl, only to arrive at the game and find out they didn't have a seat. The $2,400 (which is triple the face value of the $800 ticket) is a fair amount, but I doubt it covers what some people spent on airfare, hotel, car rental, meals and lost time at work. Some of those 400 fans may have bought tickets on the secondary market, where the average ticket was going for around $3,500. One man told Fox40 News in Dallas that he paid a total of $9,000 to attend the Super Bowl.
The cost is only one concern. Folks were understandably livid on Sunday night when they discovered their section was closed. A foam finger wasn't going to calm them down:
The reality of the situation is that the NFL can't make up for what happened. Getting tickets to Super Bowl XLVI only matters if the Packers or Steelers are in that game. What interest would a Green Bay fan have in seeing the Patriots and Falcons play in next year's title game? And who's paying for them to get to Indianapolis for the game? Or to stay in a hotel? Or pay taxes on the cost of the reimbursement package, which the IRS will certainly consider a gift? The NFL should step up and pay those costs too. (And that's assuming there even is a Super Bowl next year with labor strife looming.)
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The league is making the best of a bad situation, but the bad situation was completely of its own doing. It wasn't an unforseen circumstance that led to these folks getting kicked out of the stadium. It was a baffling oversight by whoever was in charge of getting the seats ready.
A police officer told a reporter that the ice storm which paralyzed Dallas earlier in the week played a role in the delay of the construction of the seating structure. You're telling me that Ines Sainz and that guy from "The Tonight Show" could get to the stadium on media day, but construction workers couldn't? The Cowboys' last home game was before Christmas! The Cotton Bowl was played in the stadium on Jan. 11! Surely there was enough time to put up some stands and get them approved.
Jerry Jones and the NFL blew it. They were so concerned with party plazas and attendance records that they ignored 400 football fans who spent time and money to come see their favorite time in the Super Bowl. Empty gestures can't solve that.
They say everything is bigger in Texas. Even the debacles, it seems.
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