You are here

Drew Sharp: Super Bowl seating mess gives way to super greed

Detroit Free Press, February 13, 2011



The fervor for frivolous litigation in the aftermath of the NFL's Super Bowl ticket debacle only further strengthens the political argument for tort reform.

Those 400 people who came to Cowboys Stadium last Sunday with enthusiasm and, more important, an $800 ticket, only to discover that there was no seat for them, were wronged. They paid for the promise of a seat at a major sporting event. They didn't get that seat for whatever reasons. They should be reimbursed for the cost of the ticket, plus interest.

The NFL did precisely that.

But typical of this country's desire to assign excessive fault, there will be a flurry of class-action lawsuits bent on making the aristocratic NFL and Dallas Cowboys owner/bon vivant Jerry Jones suffer financially far more than they rightfully should.

How much did those 400 people without seats really suffer? How much emotional pain did they actually endure watching Super Bowl XLV from the stadium concourses with access to unlimited food and adult beverages at league expense and the opportunity to participate in the on-field postgame celebration?

The NFL offered those 400 a choice of ticket reimbursement at three times the cost of the ticket (that amounts to $2,400) plus a ticket to next year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis (that they could easily broker for a cost of $5,000 if their favorite team isn't playing), or they could get free travel and accommodations to another, perhaps more tropical, Super Bowl venue.

That's the equivalent of an airline bumping you off a flight to Newark, N.J., because there weren't enough seats and, as compensation, awarding you three complimentary first-class tickets to Paris.

But even that's not enough for these people.

The cry for litigation in this particular instance is nothing more than white-collar entitlement.

Only a precious few are so financially flush to easily afford Super Bowl seats. They don't have to apologize for making a lot of money. They can spend it anyway they choose, and if they choose to throw it at a football game, that's their privilege.

But it's still just a football game.

Having them employ a legal remedy that's really in place for those physically injured and emotionally distressed in workplace transgressions that affect their livelihood isn't just disingenuous. It's ethically repugnant.

But why should a good conscience stop people from what their greed tells them is the right thing?

NFL officials should have never let this happen. They know it. They screwed up. They've gone more than out of their way to right a wrong.

But there comes a point when those supposed victims must assume their own responsibility in blowing up something so far out of proportion that the wrong really isn't as sinister as they want you to believe.

That time is now.