Jerry Jones, NFL share in responsibility for seat fiasco

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys are sharing responsibility with the NFL in the mess created when approximately 400 fans were displaced from their seats before Super Bowl XLV Sunday night.

It was deemed that temporary seating constructed to hold roughly 1,250 fans was unsafe. About 850 fans were accommodated in other seats. That left 400 out of luck, forced to watch the game on video boards. The NFL is working to invite those fans to Super Bowl XLVI next year in Indianapolis.

“Cowboys Stadium was designed with the versatility to be fully capable accommodating the number of
seats that were scheduled to be in place for Super Bowl XLV,” Jones said in a statement released Monday night. “The stadium configuration was part of the Host Committee bid that was approved by the NFL owners in 2007. The NFL, the Host Committee, the Cowboys, and the City of Arlington worked closely to ensure as safe and as enjoyable experience for as many fans as possible.

“The incomplete installation of temporary seats left a limited number of sections unusable for yesterday's game. Manpower and timing issues caused inconveniences to some fans. At the end of the preparations, approximately 400 fans attending the game were not able to watch from those installed seats. We deeply regret their Super Bowl experience was impacted by this error, and we share that responsibility with the NFL. We will also continue to work closely with the NFL in its complete review of Super Bowl XLV.”

NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman appeared with commissioner Roger Goodell at his press conference this morning to further address the issue.

“We had a plan that was approved by the authorities, and we all agreed at the end of day, as you know from the statement last night, safety was a paramount concern, and we simply ran out of time on a couple of sections. It’s a shared responsibility, but it’s our overall responsibility to manage that,” Grubman said. “We’ll have to look very carefully at the key steps along the way, and where we could have done better, and make sure we do a better job next year.

“We made a judgment that we had a very good shot to be able to complete it.”

Considering the NFL had roughly a month to work on the stadium and prepare it before the game, it’s unthinkable that temporary seating couldn’t be completed in time. Either the plan from the start was flawed and nothing could be done to make the seating safe, or the job was poorly executed. Either way, the NFL is at fault here and Jones shares in the blame. The NFL is moving to do the right thing but was we brought up this morning – what happens when the offer of a free ticket to Super Bowl XLVI is extended to a Packers or Steelers fan next year and their team isn’t in the game? Then what good is the offer to make good on an error?

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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