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NFL Executive VP Eric Grubman Explains Super Bowl Seating Snafu

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I know this is, in a way, old news. But based on the conversation that took place in the comments section of maryrose's Wednesday, I thought it was still worthwhile to share what a high-ranking NFL executive had to say about how and why hundreds of fans were not able to sit in the seats they had paid purchased tickets for. So, here's Eric Grubman, Executive Vice President of the NFL, talking with Joe Bendel of ESPN 970 (links to audio file) in Pittsburgh about what led to the displacement of 400 disappointed ticket holders during Super Bowl XLV this past Sunday.(Partial transcription via: Sports Radio Interviews.)

How did this happen?:

"It’s a construction project when you put up these stands, these temporary stands. You put up the outside of the building and then you’ve got to finish it and there’s a lot of detail work and you can’t get the inspections until you do the finished detail work. And we just didn’t get that done. Literally, an hour before the game, we thought we were going to have all the seats and we just didn’t get it done."

What did they say was too risky?:

"They were there every step of the way. They were there for days because you clear these sections as they get finished. I was there all night on Saturday night and I was there with the inspectors. They bent over backwards to help us to point out things early. … Was I disappointed? Yeah, I was really disappointed. I think of the fans, they’re like my brother. … The safety railings weren’t up, the contractor didn’t finish, they pulled their tools and they were done."

On fans who are irate over the process:

"It was awful. We made the best of it. We screwed it up, I can’t change that. I’m a football fan and before I worked at the Super Bowl I took my young sons and my father … to see the New York Giants and if that would have happened to me, I would be furious."

On the class action lawsuit filed in this problem:

"I’m not particularly surprised but also … I’m not particularly focused on the lawsuit. I’m focused on our fans that got so disappointed. … We’re going to focus on them and do the best job we can for them and let the lawyers worry about the lawyers."