This all could have been avoided, Jerry Jones said, if he'd just gotten his way.
As part of an attempt to break the Super Bowl attendance record -- set in 1980 when 103,985 fans watched the Steelers beat the Rams in the Rose Bowl -- 13,000 temporary seats were added to the configuration of what was then still called Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. On game day, 1,200 of the seats were unusable. Many fans set to sit in the temporary seats were relocated, but about 400 were never given a seat, leaving them without access to a game they'd paid thousands of dollars to see. Many of the affected fans took deals from the NFL that allowed them to attend future Super Bowls or gave them other compensation, but two groups of fans filed separate suits against the league. The first of those suits, contested by eight plaintiffs, began in Dallas this month.
Tuesday, Jones was called as the plaintiffs' final witness -- Jones and the Cowboys were initially named as defendants in the suit before being dismissed. Jones, who admitted that he wanted to break the record, said he wanted to allow fans to congregate in standing room only areas above the end zones. During Cowboys home games, standing tickets are called Party Passes -- you get access to the concourses and standing areas but no seat. The NFL nixed the idea, hence the temporary seats, which Jones said the NFL wanted because it could charge more for them.
Jones said he didn't know until minutes before the game that all of the temporary seats would not be ready. It wasn't fair that some fans didn't get seats, Jones said, and he regretted it happened, but the Cowboys did everything they could to get the temporary seats ready in time. Still, Jones told the press after his testimony that the majority of those without seats have "thought that what [the league] has given them has been very fair."
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Closing arguments in the trial are set for Wednesday.