NFL invites fans who lost seats to next Super Bowl

It was far from a super week for the NFL and football fans in North Texas. One sportswriter says Albania should get a Super Bowl before Dallas gets another shot. (Feb 7)
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 8, 2011; 12:00 AM

DALLAS - As the Green Bay Packers savored their Super Bowl triumph Monday, the NFL continued to deal with the fallout from problems with temporary seating at Cowboys Stadium that cost 400 ticket holders their seats to Sunday's game.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called the situation "obviously a failure on our part" and said the league would invite the affected fans to next year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis as guests of the NFL.

"We'll be working with them and reaching out to them," Goodell said, speaking to reporters after a morning news conference with Packers Coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the game's most valuable player. "But we'll be bringing them to the Super Bowl as a guest of the NFL next year."

Goodell issued an apology during the news conference to the ticket holders who lost their seats. The league announced Sunday that it was giving them refunds worth triple the face value of their tickets.

The affected ticket holders were brought inside the stadium and allowed to watch the game on monitors in a field-level club area or from standing-room locations at each corner of the stadium, the NFL said Sunday.

The NFL also relocated about 850 ticket holders from unavailable temporary seats to other seats Sunday.

Goodell said after Monday's news conference that the league would conduct "a thorough review" of the matter. "We don't have all of the answers . . . but it was obviously a failure on our part, and we have to take responsibility for that," Goodell said.

Eric Grubman, the league's executive vice president of NFL ventures and business operations, said the problems involved the "final installation of railings, of tightening risers, steps, things of that nature, and that's what did not get completed at the end."

Grubman said the league was aware around the middle of last week that problems with the temporary seating areas existed but had hoped to resolve them before the game. Goodell said it would have been difficult to notify fans earlier because it was unclear initially how many seats, or which ones, would be affected.

More than 103,000 people attended the game, including those with credentials. Paid attendance was announced at more than 91,000, including those standing outside on a plaza. The total attendance fell just shy of the Super Bowl record.

Fox and the NFL announced later Monday that the Packers' 31-25 victory over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV was watched by an average of 111 million viewers, allowing it to surpass last year's Super Bowl as the most-watched television show in history. Last year's game was watched by an average of 106.5 million viewers.

The NFL, after a Super Bowl week plagued by ice and snow in the Dallas area and Sunday's seating problems, now must deal with a looming work stoppage. Franchise owners and the players' union are attempting to negotiate an extension of their collective bargaining agreement, which expires March 4. Players expect owners to lock them out if a new deal is not reached. Unlike the other 31 teams, the Packers begin a season of uncertainty with the Lombardi trophy in their possession.

"Coming out of training camp, it was the best football team that I stood in front of," McCarthy said Monday. "I knew that we were going to have an excellent opportunity to win the Super Bowl. When you look at our returning roster next year, it's going to be the same type of situation."

The Packers won their fourth Super Bowl title and 13th NFL championship, including the pre-Super Bowl era. They had to win on the final day of the regular season to reach the playoffs as the NFC's sixth seed, then won on the road against the conference's top three seeds.

Rodgers further cemented his status as one of the league's top quarterbacks by throwing for three touchdowns Sunday while the Green Bay defense forced three turnovers and thwarted Pittsburgh's last-chance drive with the outcome still in doubt.

McCarthy had his players fitted for Super Bowl rings Saturday night as a motivational tactic. Rodgers said Monday he missed the ring-sizing session.

"Every team has a different face to it - every year, different players, guys come and go," Rodgers said. "But I think the core, the nucleus of this team, is intact to make runs like this for the next four or five years."

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