Attendance increased by almost 50 percent for the National Football League's second week of games using replacement players yesterday, including a record 40,622 in Dallas where regulars Tony Dorsett and Danny White were booed when they entered the game.
The 13 games yesterday drew an average of 25,042, compared to last week's 16,987 for 14 games. The NFL averages for the two weeks before the strike were 58,000. Including no-shows, the NFL sold 447,031 tickets for yesterday's 13 games, compared to 346,186 for all 14 games a week ago.
A week ago, there were only three crowds of more than 20,000 and three of fewer than 10,000. Yesterday, nine games drew at least 20,000 and only two -- including the Redskins at the New York Giants in rainy, cold weather -- attracted less than 10,000.
Attendance was down at three of the four sites where a replacement game was played the previous week -- from 16,471 to 9,123 at the Meadowlands, from 16,677 to 8,684 at Atlanta and from 14,830 to 11,878 at Foxboro, Mass. The only city to attract more fans was Seattle, which increased from 19,448 to 31,739.
The 13-game average yesterday was almost exactly what Management Council officials predicted. NFLPA sources said they weren't surprised at the increase, since the refund deadline expired before it was clear striking players would be out another week and teams used a marketing strategy of giveaway promotions.
In Tampa, for instance, free gifts and a chance to win a 10-day trip to the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl helped attract a crowd of 23,873. Other fans received hats and other souvenirs. "I'd rather see the fans give $25 to charity and get a tax writeoff," said Cowboys player representative Doug Cosbie, manning a picket line outside Texas Stadium.
Picket lines were assembled at all game sites yesterday except the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, but they were peaceful and no arrests were reported.
The major problems in some cities, such as Indianapolis, were unexpected lines to buy tickets.
In Irving, Tex., the fans were backing the replacement players, but not the veterans who crossed the picket line to save their annuities.
"This is the first time we've come to a Cowboys game since the players struck back in '82. We're here to see the real Cowboys play," said Al Anderson of Cisco, Tex. "The Cowboys are the team that the organization puts out on the field. The NFL makes the teams that take the field -- the players don't make the NFL."
In East Rutherford, N.J., Gary Reasons, the New York Giants' assistant player representative, spent most of the damp afternoon denying the Giants would return en masse this week if there were no settlement. The report originated when Pro Bowl defensive end Leonard Marshall said on a cable television show Saturday night that Reasons had told him that was what the team would do.
"I didn't tell Leonard anything, but there are a few things I'd like to tell him now," Reasons said. "Once again Leonard Marshall sticks his big hoof in his mouth. Validity is the furthest thing from that statement."
The replacement Dallas Cowboys were told their life won't be so luxurious from now on, according to an Associated Press report. The report said that the replacement Cowboys, who have been living in a luxury hotel near Dallas-Fort Worth Airport for three weeks, have been told to find apartments or move to a cheaper hotel where they will be charged $10 per night.