For most of the country, the Packers's 31-25 victory over the Steelers on Sunday means that thoughts of football get put on the backburner until the 2011 season starts next September.
But for 400 fans who had tickets to the big game but were shut out at the last second, this year's Super Bowl is likely to be on their minds well into the future.
The mishap occurred after the National Football League (NFL) sold extra tickets for temporary seats that weren't completed in time for the game, rendering them unsafe and unusable.
“Incomplete installation of temporary seats in a limited number of sections made the seats unusable,” the NFL said in a prepared statement. “The safety of fans attending the Super Bowl was paramount in making the decision and the NFL, Dallas Cowboys and City of Arlington officials are in agreement with the resolution. We regret the situation and inconvenience that it may have caused. We will conduct a full review of this matter.”
400 fans left out in the cold
Initially, it looked like 1,250 fans were going to be without seats, but the NFL came up with replacements for 850 of them at the last minute. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted that “NFL + Cowboys staff and families gave up seats,” according to ESPN.
But that still left 400 fans without seats -- and very angry.
“I got to my seat, which was row 33, and guess what? There was no row 33,” Milwaukee resident Jim Sass told the New York Post on Monday.
“Some smart-ass from the NFL told us, 'Hey buddy, don't bother me. You're just going to have to stand somewhere and watch the game,” said Sass, who spent $12,000 to make the trip with his 29-year-old daughter Tammy. “My daughter was crying. If I was younger, I'd have decked him.”
Triple refund, free seats for next year
In an attempt to make nice with the unamused fans, the NFL let them watch the game on monitors inside the stadium’s clubhouse, and gave them access to standing room platforms in the corners of the stadium. Aiello’s tweet said that these fans were also given “free food, soft drinks + merchandise.”
The unlucky 400 were also refunded the full ticket price, three times over -- thus, an $800 ticket yielded a $2,400 refund. And in case there are still any hard feelings, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the fans will be “guests of the NFL” at next year’s Super Bowl, meaning they’ll get complimentary seats to the 2012 game in Indianapolis.
In a statement, Goodell said the incident was “obviously a failure on our behalf,” and that there were “no excuses” he could offer the displaced fans.
Class action possible
But despite the humbled commissioner’s mea culpa, and the prospect of free seats and a $1,600 windfall, there are already rumblings about the mess sparking a class action lawsuit against the NFL. NBC Sports reported that at least two websites -- SuperBowlSuit.com and SueSuperBowl.com -- have been created in apparent response to the incident.
The final chapter of Super Bowl XLV may have yet to be written.