Scorned Super Bowl Fans File Lawsuit Against the NFL, Cowboys Stadium and Jerry Jones

Posted: February 10, 2011 in NFL
Tags: , , , , ,

Unless you are one of the four people featured in the “never missed a Super Bowl club” commercial, the odds are highly likely that you fall into the opposite club – “never been to a Super Bowl.” With Super Bowl tickets extremely hard to come by, or afford for that matter, most people have no choice but to watch the game on television.

Imagine that you have decided to pony up the thousands of dollars that it takes for tickets, travel and expenses to fulfill the dream of going to the Super Bowl.  Imagine that you take vacation time from work to seize what may very well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see your favorite team play in the game.

Now imagine being told upon your arrival at the $1.5 billion stadium where the game is being played that your seats don’t exist because they weren’t installed to proper safety standards.

The only way to avoid feeling sympathetic to the fans who were burned by the NFL, Cowboys Stadium and Jerry Jones, is to allow jealousy to overrule logic.  While it may be hard to feel bad for someone who was able to afford to go to the Super Bowl if you are struggling financially, imagine how would you feel if it happened to you.

The Super Bowl is the biggest event of the year…EVERY YEAR!  Nothing in the world is even a close second.  It is the only time that people actually sit and watch every commercial as if it were a movie that they paid to see.  It is the only time that people who have absolutely no interest in the game tune in to be a part of what has become a cultural event.  It is not a holiday, but if it were, it would rank right up there with Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

So, when the Super Bowl was awarded to Dallas (a.k.a. Jerry Jones) for the first time ever, it was reasonable to think that all worst-case-scenario contingencies would have been addressed beforehand.

To say that Dallas’ first Super Bowl was a bust would be an egregious understatement.  While the fault for everything that happened cannot be pinned solely on poor planning, much of it can be.

Record-breaking cold temperatures certainly put a damper on the week leading up to the Super Bowl.  It was unfortunate, but it didn’t have to be as bad as it was had proper plans been put in place.  Unfortunately, the solution for clearing roads in the DFW area is to wait for the temperature to rise above freezing.  It usually does.  This time it didn’t, so the weather helped to contribute to a disastrous Super Bowl week in North Texas.

However, the unusual arctic-like temperatures had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that 400 ticketholders had no place to sit in the stadium, or the fact that another 850 ticketholders were forced to squeeze into areas that were anything close to what they paid for or expected.

The seating issue comes down to only two things:

[1]          GREED – Jerry Jones wanted so badly to break the all-time Super Bowl attendance record that he even sold standing-room-only tickets for people who wanted to stand outside of the stadium to be a part of the action.  Why thousands of people would spend hundreds of dollars to stand out in the cold and watch the game on television is beyond anything that I can comprehend, but that is neither here nor there.

Jones also wanted to fill the stadium with people paying to stand on the “party pass” levels, but was not given permission to do so.  If he wanted to fill those areas of the massive stadium, he had no choice to but have temporary seats installed due to fire safety concerns.

[2]          HUMAN ERROR – There is absolutely no excuse for the NFL, Cowboys Stadium and Jerry Jones to sell tickets for seats that were not guaranteed to exist.  With the money that is generated by the Super Bowl, arrangements should have been made to have the best people in the world flown in to build the temporary stands.  These people should have been working around the clock to make sure that everyone had a safe seat to go to upon arriving at the game.

EVERYTHING in the NFL is about the bottom line.  The bottom line is the reason why the NFL is less than a month away from a potential work stoppage.  Being that the NFL is so focused on the bottom line, it should come as no surprise to them that they are being sued.

The bottom line is that the NFL, Cowboys Stadium and Jerry Jones were ill-prepared for the biggest event of the year.

The bottom line is that the people who were directly impacted by their ineptitude deserve to be compensated beyond mere financial restitution.

The bottom line is that they collectively robbed their fans of a moment in time that can never be replaced.

The bottom line is that they should have been beyond generous once the error was made, instead of gradually increasing their compensatory offer as they were scrutinized by the media.

If the powers that be were smart, they would have offered to reimburse each displaced ticketholder the full amount of the cost of their trip.  They should have offered them an all-expense paid trip to next year’s Super Bowl, and another all-expense paid trip to the Super Bowl of their choosing in the future.

The NFL should not have treated their compensatory offer with the same approach that they are using in their negotiations with the NFL Players Association.  Their offer should have been all give and no take.  It should not have come with strings or a mandate forcing people to choose from “Column A” or “Column B” as if it were a Chinese take-out menu.

Based on the way that things were handled, it should come as no surprise that a lawsuit was filed.  The only surprising element was that the dollar amount was so low ($5 million).  It may sound like a lot of money, but when you take into consideration that this is a class action lawsuit with approximately 1000 litigants, the numbers don’t seem unreasonable.

The NFL should settle this lawsuit quickly and fairly to all who were affected by their lack of proper planning.  If a jury was able to justify awarding a elderly woman nearly $3 million against McDonald’s for spilling coffee into her own lap while driving, it’s not hard to imagine that they will rule heavily against the NFL on this justified lawsuit.


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