By mistreating Super Bowl fans who were left without seats at Cowboys Stadium and then subsequently lowballing them with compensation, the NFL gave off the impression that it doesn't care about the little guy. According to a few VIP fans who were at Super Bowl XLV, the league didn't show much concern for the big guys either.
In an article in the Philadelphia Daily News, Paul Domowitch entertainingly details a myriad of Super Bowl-sized complaints from VIPs and sponsors.
"In the past, you couldn't miss where you were supposed to go," [said a source close to the situation.] "You'd get off a bus or out of your limo and there would be someone there to tell you, 'Tailgate party right this way.' This one, no one had any idea where to go. VIPs and sponsors were being funneled in [to the stadium] with regular fans."
With the regular fans? Ugh. Hobknobbing with the proletariat and common folk. I hope the "regular fans" at least had the decency not to look the VIPs directly in the eyes. And I pray -- pray -- that these very important people/refugees didn't suffer the indignity of arriving at the tailgate party only to find that they ran out of caviar and Chateau Lafitte.
When New Orleans Saints owner/executive vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc, who is the granddaughter of majority owner Tom Benson, and the heir to the team, called from the airport for her free limo, she was informed that the perks were only for each team's principal owner. In other words, only grandpa. According to a source, Tom Benson was furious with Jones.
When you see "granddaughter of majority owner Tom Benson" you get the image of a 5-year-old girl in pigtails holding one of those huge lollipops, sadly waiting at the airport for a ride that never came. Except that Rita Benson LeBlanc is 33 and quite capable of calling her own limo or Town Car or, gasp, taxi. Should the Cowboys have accommodated the owner-in-waiting? Sure. Could she have arranged her own ride? Absolutely.
Many league executives also were upset when they and their families were told at the last minute that they had to give up their Super Bowl seats and watch the game on television in a tent outside the stadium as the league gave their seats to many of the displaced 1,200.
The old saying "the customer is always right" apparently has no place in the NFL. When you host a dinner party and there isn't enough steak to go around, you give up your piece. It was completely logical for the league execs to give up their seats. That's what they should have done. I'm sure nobody was happy about it, but sometimes you have to take one for the team. Anonymously bashing the decision a week later isn't part of that process.
Then there was the awful sound quality during the Black Eyed Peas' halftime performance. Once upon a time, the league spared no expense when it came to staging its biggest game. Since the departure of the league's longtime special events coordinator, Jim Steeg, 7 years ago, though, it has dramatically cut costs.
When you select the Black Eyed Peas as halftime entertainment, you're pretty much guaranteeting awful sound quality.
Domowitch believes the problems at Super Bowl XLV may cause some sponsors to back out of next year's game. He writes that the league has done damage control with FedEx and Castrol Motor Oil in an attempt to calm down the big-money sponsors. If the NFL is as successful with them as it was with the aggrieved fans, expect to see UPS and Valvoline at next year's game.
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