Thursday March 5th, 2015

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell took responsibility for the seating issues at Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas, saying the Dallas Cowboys were not at fault for leaving hundreds of fans without seats and restricted views for the event.

A federal suit was filed by tickets holders, some of whom paid thousands of dollars for tickets for the game between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers on Feb. 6, 2011.

On Wednesday, jurors in the trial heard portions of Goodell's hour-long deposition, which was recorded in 2013.

The NFL wanted to install 15,000 temporary seats for the game, but some of the seats were not completed in time. Some fans that were guaranteed seats had to stand during the game and others were delayed in their arrival inside the stadium.

“I’m not blaming others. I’m blaming ourselves. I’m accepting responsibility,” Goodell said, according to a taped deposition played for the jury. “It is our event. It is our responsibility to produce it in a positive way and make sure we deliver on our promise.”

More problems occurred when Arlington fire officials and building inspectors said that more than 1,200 of the seats broke various code violations and were deemed unsafe.

Overall, about 3,200 fans were affected, including more than 400 that did not receive seats.

The league made several offers to fans who were displaced, including tickets to a future Super Bowl. From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

The NFL has said that it satisfied its obligations to the displaced fans by offering them the prices they paid for their tickets plus all documented travel, lodging and meal expenses. About 2,800 people who were delayed getting to their seats or were relocated could receive the face value of their tickets or a ticket to a future Super Bowl.

About 434 people who did not have a seat had more options: $2,400 plus a ticket to the 2012 Super Bowl; a trip to a future Super Bowl with airfare and a four-night hotel stay; a check for $5,000; or a check for more than $5,000 with documented expenses.

The Cowboys and owner/general manager Jerry Jones were dropped from the suit in 2012.

The trial is expected to continue through next week, with the rest of Goodell’s taped deposition expected to heard on Thursday.

- Scooby Axson

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