400 Super Bowl Fans Sent Home Because Seats Unsafe

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Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin gestures as his team warms up before the NFL football Super Bowl XLV game with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Cowboys Stadium wasn’t ready for the Super Bowl.

About 1,250 fans were displaced because their seats were deemed unsafe – 400 who were sent home, and 850 who were given somewhere else to sit.

“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,” the NFL said in a statement. “We regret the situation and inconvenience that it may have caused. We will conduct a full review of this matter.”

The NFL said the people relocated were put in “similar or better seats.”

Those turned away will be given a refund of triple the face value – however, $2,700 for $900 tickets may not be enough for folks who paid much more to scalpers, not to mention travel and hotel costs.

Seating woes are the latest frustration for the first Super Bowl at Jerry Jones’ $1.2 billion showplace.

A rare, severe winter storm moved into the area Tuesday, ripping holes in tents on the property and hampering travel and celebrations across the region. On Friday, six people at the stadium were injured by melting snow falling from the roof.

Organizers were hoping flawless game-day logistics would wipe out some of the complaints, but this seating problem could be an issue in the area’s plans to bid for the 50th Super Bowl in 2016.

The affected areas were four entryways and two portions of the upper deck on the west end. All were above empty spaces, so the stability of those structures apparently was the issue.

In the upper deck, there were off-limits seats in the same rows as seats that were deemed safe. Yellow police tape was used as a dividing line, with uniformed personnel also keeping folks away.

About 15,000 temporary seats were added to the stadium in a bid to set the record for the largest crowd in Super Bowl history. Jones was aiming for more than 105,000, including stadium workers and media, and fans who bought standing room tickets for plazas outside the stadium.

The temporary seats filled open platforms that are usually standing-room only “party pass” areas for Cowboys games. The entryways were on the third level, while the upper deck is on the fifth level.

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