NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell & NFL Executive Eric Grubman

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Super Bowl XLV – Monday, February 7, 2011



(on why the seats in Cowboys Stadium were not set up in time for the Super Bowl) Goodell: “We are going to do a thorough review of that. We don’t have all of the answers to that, but it was obviously a failure on our behalf, and we have to take responsibility for that.”

(on if the Cowboys’ organization bears any responsibility) Goodell: “No. We put on this event. This is a responsibility of the NFL.”

(on if the issue was weather-related or ice-related) Goodell: “I’ll try to let Eric (Grubman) address some of the particulars on it. We had, obviously, a lot of challenges this week. There were a lot of things we were trying to deal with. But, there is no excuse. When you put on an event like this, you know you are going to have those challenges. We’re used to those kinds of things. Maybe Eric can add a few points.”

(on how North Texas did on hosting the game). Goodell: “I think North Texas did a great job. As I said earlier, and I’ve saidit all week, again, we had many challenges this week, as we did throughout the country. The weather issues affected the entire country, and I think the people here, with the leadership of Bill Lively and Roger Staubach, the entire North Texas Host Committee and (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones and his family, did an outstanding job.”

(on why the seating was a problem) Grubman: “I don’t think the weather had any significant contribution to the seating issue. We had a plan that was approved by the authorities, and we all agreed at the end of day, as you know from the statement last night, safety was a paramount concern, and we simply ran out of time on a couple of sections. It’s a shared responsibility, but it’s our overall responsibility to manage that. We’ll have to look very carefully at the key steps along the way, and where we could have done better, and make sure we do a better job next year.”

(on if the NFL knew of the issue earlier in the week) Grubman: “The fire marshall did not step in late, neither did the police. They were there with us every step of the way. We were in consultation with them. We were in agreement with them. There were no disputes. Everybody was looking at it the same way. In fact, what they did helped us gain time to try to get it done, and at the end, we just ran out of time.”

(on if the fans affected could have been notified earlier) Grubman: “We made a judgment that we had a very good shot to be able to complete it. We made a judgment that it was the right course of action to bring the fans in, rather than discourage them, or create a sense that they wouldn’t have the information necessary.”

(Goodell) “Let me just respond to one other thing. It was important to note, that we didn’t know how many fans, or which fans, would be affected. And that went into a lot of our thinking about how we communicate with them, but we had a tremendous number of people out trying to reach those fans yesterday as we determined who was going to be impacted on that.”

(on if Goodell met to the affected fans) Goodell: “Some. I was not able to get to all of them. Obviously, we will be doing that over the course of the next couple of days.”

(on if the seats were added at the last minute) Grubman: “None of the design was added at the last minute. This was an installation issue, and a failure, a shared failure, and it is as simple as that.”

(on when during the week they found out it would be a problem) Grubman: “We felt in the middle of the week that it was going to be a problem. We did not feel until the game day that we had an issue where there was a distinct possibility that we wouldn’t be able to accommodate fans.”

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Super Bowl XLV – Monday, February 7, 2011



(on what point work was still being done) Grubman: “The work, the final work was completed in the afternoon of game day.”

(on whose fault it was) Grubman: “I’ll just simplify it. All the parties were working together, and when parties are working together and something goes wrong, everybody has a responsibility. We will figure out what the key steps were, which ones were ours, which ones were someone else’s, and we’ll address that.”

(on who made the final decision) Grubman: “The responsibility to certify the structural integrity and the safety remains with the police department and the fire department. And safety is the paramount concern for our fans, so when it became obvious that certain of those sections could not be prepared in time to ensure that, they made the decision as to what the certification was, and from there it was very easy, those seats were not going to be in play and we moved into a mode to try to seat as many of those fans as possible.”

(on whether it was a vendor issue) Grubman: “We have a lot of work to do to figure out what the different parts of the failure were. We’ll be doing that in the coming weeks.”

(on what the NFL will do for the fans who didn’t get seats) Grubman: “We’re going to reach out to the fans, we’ve already started that. We have a responsibility to them not just to give them the seat, but also make a great experience. We’re going to do everything that we possibly can to make sure that they have an opportunity in the future to come back to the NFL.”

Goodell: “And for the 400 that we were unable to relocate into seats in the bowl, we are going to be reaching out to them and we’ll be inviting them to the Super Bowl next year.”

(on the fans being upset about losing their seats) Goodell: “We understand that, and that’s why we’ll be working with them and reaching out to them. But we’ll be bringing them to the Super Bowl as a guest of the NFL next year.”

(on the stadium design and plan) Grubman: “The stadium was designed to accommodate the number of people that we had in the building. You can come up with a variety of designs for how the seating and the standing room only is going to be accommodated to put that number of people in the building. We’ll look at whether there’s a better design to accommodate that number in the future for an NFL event.”

(on if breaking the Super Bowl attendance record was a goal) Grubman: “The attendance record was not the goal. The goal was to use this great building in a way that showcased the NFL, showcased North Texas and showcased some great players that we have in the NFL. And if we can come up with a better installation plan for a future event, we’ll do that.”

(on the entrances to Cowboys Stadium that were shut down) Grubman: “Until the morning of the game, we had a distinct possibility that we were going to get that ice down. We quartered off the areas for safety so that we had a place to bring it down, and then it was a matter of whether the weather cooperated with us or not. But we had to have a plan the night before for the eventuality that those entrances would not be available, and it was a decision then for safety, which again, that’s an easy decision. The safety of the fans, we’re going to make that kind of decision, and we know our fans will see it that way and understand it.”

(on if there was still ice on those sections of the stadium) Grubman: “Yes, there was.”

(on why they couldn’t relocate fans) Grubman: “We began building contingency plans as soon as we saw the risk. It was a sold-out building, so it’s not easy to simply get whatever that number of tickets is, and as the Commissioner said earlier, we simply didn’t know what sections, and sections have different amount of seats in them, we didn’t know which sections could be at most risk.”

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Super Bowl XLV – Monday, February 7, 2011



(on why they didn’t make an announcement to fans sooner) Grubman: “We would have made the call to begin moving those fans and notifying them had we known earlier in the week that we were definitely not going to have them, but our objective was to accommodate all our fans safely and in comfort and to have them not have to think about anything other than watching that game.”

(on what the specific seating problem was) Grubman: “At the final point, there was no vertical structural issue that we were aware of from the police department. That was completed earlier. There was a final installation of railings, of tightening risers, steps, things of that nature, and that’s what did not get completed at the end.”

(on whether North Texas might get another Super Bowl) Goodell: “Sure, it’s a membership vote, but I think they did an outstanding job. It was a great event, and I’m sure that they’ll be seeking another Super Bowl, and I’m sure the ownership will look at that very seriously.”

(on the reaction from NFL owners to the game) Goodell: “I haven’t seen any owners this morning. I saw a couple last night and they said they thought it was a great week.”

(on if any owners said this week was an issue for them) Goodell: “No, they did not.”

(on Jerry Jones’ reaction) Goodell: “I haven’t talked to Jerry this morning. I haven’t seen him. I spoke to him yesterday afternoon earlier, and we were all working for solutions yesterday afternoon.”

(on if they worked with the Cowboys the solve the problem) Goodell: “Yes, the entire Cowboys organization, they participated in volunteering to give up their employee tickets yesterday also. So I think the entire organization worked to help us develop solutions.”

(on some fans filing lawsuits against the NFL) Goodell: “We’re more concerned with making sure we take care of the fans in an appropriate way, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”

(on the game’s television ratings) Goodell: “It is preliminary ratings that have come in, but right now they say it’s on track to be the most-watched show in television history, topping last year’s game.”

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