The NFL’s former chief Super Bowl planner called the 2011 situation a debacle just before kick off in an e-mail to other league staffers.
The message came as hundreds of paying ticket holders found their seats were not ready.
Testifying Tuesday in a Dallas federal court lawsuit against the NFL by some of those fans, Frank Supovitz said he stands by the 'debacle' remark.
But Supovitz also said the league did all it normally does beforehand to insure a positive experience for fans.
“It was a bad situation. We take responsibility for that. But the actions we took were the right actions,” Supovitz said.
The North Texas plan called for more than 12,000 temporary seats to boost attendance at the game.
Supovitz said it was more than the other eight Super Bowls he planned, and he said pressure from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to set an attendance record was a factor.
Supovitz said he devised on option that was rejected for potential total attendance of more than 106,000.
Jones and the Dallas Cowboys were expected to build the temporary seats and Supovitz said he voiced concerns with Jones about remaining work the days before the game.
But up until that day, Supovitz said he was still confident the job would be finished.
In the end, February 6, 2011 attendance fell just sort of the record 103,985. More than 800 fans were given seats other than the tickets they paid for and around 450 ticketholders never saw the game at all. Those 450 were taken to a club under the seating areas to watch the game on TV, then given the chance to go out on the field afterward.
“Ultimately the contractor did not finish the job,” Supovitz told the jury. “If you are asking who is responsible, I was responsible. The NFL was responsible.”
Supovitz did not blame Jones and the Cowboys. They are not defendants in the trials, but Jones is a possible witness later.
Supovitz was on the witness stand for nearly all of Tuesday’s session in U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn’s court. He is due to return Wednesday morning.
The trial could last two weeks. The NFL lawyers say the seven plaintiffs in this case are seeking unreasonable damages. The NFL has already settled with hundreds of other fans.