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NFL Says Mea Culpa For Cowboys Stadium Super Bowl Seating Mess

By SSG Teddy Wade [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

DALLAS — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a taped deposition played for jurors this week that the league was responsible for problems that left hundreds of fans without seats or with restricted views during the 2011 Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium.

“I’m not blaming others. I’m blaming ourselves. I’m accepting responsibility,” Goodell said in the deposition, which was recorded in 2013. “It is our event. It is our responsibility to produce it in a positive way and make sure we deliver on our promise.”

Goodell’s videotaped testimony was heard by a Dallas federal jury that will decide a lawsuit filed against the NFL by ticket holders who were displaced when seats weren't properly installed for the game in Arlington, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper in Texas reported (http://bit.ly/1NhWMAs).

Seven ticket holders sued the NFL, saying they either did not have seats or they had seats with restricted views. The lawsuit alleges the NFL breached its contract with ticket holders and that settlement offers made by the league after the game failed to fully compensate them. The NFL has said it fully compensated displaced fans.

About 1,250 temporary seats at Cowboys Stadium were deemed unsafe just hours before the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. That forced about 850 ticket holders to move to new seats and 400 others to watch from standing-room locations.

In the deposition, Goodell was asked why he didn’t warn fans about seating concerns during a news conference just two days before the game. Goodell said he didn't remember anyone from the media asking him about it.

The jury was to continue hearing Goodell’s deposition on Thursday.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.