In their zeal to set a Super Bowl attendance record, the NFL and Jerry Jones overlooked one important detail: Making sure all the temporary seats inside mammoth Cowboys Stadium had been inspected and were ready for the fans.
A week plagued by poor weather took an embarrassing turn Sunday when the league had to find replacement seats for 850 fans. The NFL also scrambled to find a place for another 400 people to sit inside Jones’ $1.2 billion palace and couldn’t find any with a view of the field.
“This is absolutely ridiculous,” said Glen Long, a Pittsburgh Steelers season-ticket holder who flew in for the game from Baltimore. “That would be fraud anywhere in the world if you sold tickets to an event that you knew you didn’t have. That’s just wrong.”
Actually, the seats had been installed in six temporary sections, but they went up so late that the fire marshal didn’t have time to inspect them, according to a police officer standing near an affected area who wouldn’t give his name and an explanation of the situation provided to several fans.
The officer said the winter storms that struck Dallas earlier had set back work on the temporary seats.
That didn’t matter to fans who thought they had been deceived by the league and Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner who had hoped some 105,000 people would watch the game inside and outside the stadium. To bolster the crowd, there were $200 tickets that provided nothing more than a chance to watch the game on video screens set up in outdoor plazas.
Not even a hefty refund offer from the NFL was enough to satisfy the 400 fans who lost seats. The league said it would pay back triple the face value – $2,400 for the $800 tickets.
The NFL said 850 fans were put in “similar or better seats.” As for the rest, the NFL first offered to let the fans watch the game in the outdoor plazas. Then, shortly after kickoff, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said they had been allowed into the field-level club behind the Pittsburgh Steelers bench, where they could watch the game on monitors.
If they wanted to see the game in person, they had to use standing-room platforms in each corner of Cowboys Stadium.
Fans complained that wasn’t nearly enough, especially given what they had doled out for travel and hotel costs.
Compounding the unhappiness, fans in the affected areas were at first put into a fenced-off area while officials tried to sort things out. They became increasingly unruly, alternating chants of “Jerry Sucks!” and “NFL Sucks!”
Christina Aguilera flubbed a line as she belted out the national anthem at the start of the Super Bowl.
When she was supposed to sing the line, “O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming,” she instead repeated an earlier line, with a slight variation.
She sang, “What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last gleaming,” which is the same line from earlier in the song but with the word “watched” instead of the word “hailed”
The mistake immediately set social networks abuzz with people commenting on the error.
Aguilera’s representative did not immediately return a call and e-mail seeking comment.
BRADY UNANIMOUS MVP
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady became the first unanimous choice for The Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player Award since the AP began using a nationwide panel of media members who cover the league.
In receiving all 50 votes, he also surpassed himself: In 2007, when Brady won his first MVP, he got 49 votes; Brett Favre got the other.
Brady led New England to a 14-2 record, best in the NFL. He passed for 36 touchdowns with four picks.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the weekend’s two-hour bargaining session with the players’ union – the first formal bargaining session since November – was “beneficial.” The labor deal expires in March, and a lockout is expected unless an agreement is reached. Playmaking linebacker David Harris, voted the New York Jets’ MVP this season by his teammates, will likely have the franchise tag placed on him by the AFC club, a source said. Harris is due to become a free agent.