Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson said he had concerns about the safety of temporary seating in Cowboys Stadium for the Super Bowl.
He decided Sunday afternoon that six areas in the stadium couldn’t be used because railings were not properly installed on stairways leading to those areas.
“We were watching it,” said Crowson. “We were hopeful that the work would be completed but it wasn't. When it wasn’t, we stepped in and made sure that the fans were in a safe environment.”
The decision to close those temporary seating areas took away the seats of 1250 ticket holders according to the NFL. Most were given seats elsewhere in the stadium but about 400 fans were left without seats.
NFL Event Operations Director Bill McConnell said temporary seat construction and safety was all in order when he visited the stadium in late January.
“We’ve got the right health and safety inspectors. There’s a process in place. There’s permits in place. The right people are in the mix to make sure that those issues are dealt with,” said McConnell.
“No, we believed that it was going to be close, the construction was going to be close,” said Crowson in disagreement.
The Arlington fire chief said issues with a contractor were to blame for failing to finish the seating areas and that it wasn’t a matter of jamming too many seats into the stadium.
He also said he didn’t feel pressured to permit safety violations.
“It’s my belief that the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys were operating in a principled manner. They were working to get this job done safely,” said Crowson.
Otherwise, both Goodell and Jones said they consider the Arlington Super Bowl a tremendous success.
NFL officials said Monday the league would continue to reach out to the fans frustrated by Sunday’s foul-up.
Fans who were reseated received letters from the NFL that promised they would get a full refund for the face value of the tickets.
The NFL said fans who weren’t given new seats will receive refunds of $2,400 per ticket -- triple the face value. And that bunch will also get free tickets to Super Bowl XLVI next year in Indianapolis.
The total attendance of more than 100,000 fell just short of a previous Super Bowl record.