INDIANAPOLIS -- A seat at Super Bowl XLVI will be much easier to come by for many of the fans who couldn't get one last year in Dallas.
They'll be at home on the couch.
Of the roughly 3,200 fans who found themselves scrambling in last year's seating fiasco, 246 took the NFL up on its offer of a ticket to Sunday's game in Indianapolis between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. The rest accepted a financial settlement from the NFL, plan to go to a future Super Bowl or are suing the league.
"It was like a dream to be able to go, but it was like a nightmare having to go through it," said Green Bay Packers fan Mike Feldt, who was at the game with his son, then 19. "You have to put it behind you and move on. We were compensated, and I was satisfied with that."
Everything about the $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium is oversized, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hoped to have an attendance record to match for last year's game between the Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. About 15,000 temporary seats were added to boost attendance to some 105,000 people, which would have topped the 103,985 at the Rose Bowl for the 1980 Super Bowl.
But hours before kickoff, NFL officials announced that about 1,250 temporary seats had been deemed unsafe. The league scrambled to find new seats for about 850 people, but the rest -- many of whom were Packers or Steelers season-ticket holders -- were forced to watch from standing-room only locations. Some spent hours in the basement, while others were shepherded from spot to spot to spot without any clear answers about what was happening.
Two days after the game, some of them filed a federal lawsuit alleging breach of contract, fraud and deceptive sales practices. The NFL later agreed to compensate fans, giving them options depending upon how badly they'd been inconvenienced.
The 2,800 people who were delayed in getting to their seats or relocated were offered face value for their tickets or given a ticket to a future Super Bowl.
The 475 fans who were left without seats for the game had four options: A refund three times the face value of the ticket ($2,400) and a ticket to Sunday's Super Bowl in Indianapolis; a ticket to any future Super Bowl with airfare and four nights in a hotel room covered by the league; a check for $5,000; or a larger check if fans could document expenses above $5,000.
After both taking the cash, Feldt and Bill Jamison, a Steelers season ticket-holder who took his 14-year-old son to Dallas, said last year's debacle hasn't turned them off the NFL.
"I'm still a sucker for it. I bleed black and gold, and that's not going to change," Jamison said. "Hopefully the Steelers get there next year, and I'll try to get there as well."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press