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ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Players get ready to take the field prior to Super Bowl XLV between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The NFL, still smarting from the public relations fiasco of 400 ticket holders getting shut out of the Super Bowl, is now offering them a free ride to any future league championship contest.
The spurned ticket holders can choose one free ticket, along with round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations, to any Super Bowl as compensation for having to watch the game on televisions inside Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The new offer came after people criticized the NFL's plan to give them cash and a ticket to next year's Super Bowl. That offer fell short because Packers and Steelers fans have no way of knowing if their favorite teams will make it back in 2012.
Inspectors barred the fans from taking their seats in temporary bleachers because handrails had not been installed in time for Sunday's game, which the Green Bay won 31-25.
“We are ultimately responsible for the fan experience and we want it to be the best it can possibly be,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.
But even the new, open-ended offer may not be enough for some angry fans. Matthew Rush, 40, who was unable to wach his Steelers play live in their unprecedented eighth Super Bowl, has started a website called displacedfans45.com and said he and other fans have already filed suit over the incident.
"We are still evaluating our options at this point," Rush told NBC when asked if the new offer would pass muster.
Wes Lewis, who went with his father and was relocated but still got to see the game, has also started a website, called superbowlsuit.com, to bring aggrieved fans together. He doesn't like the new offer.
"There's no guarantee that the Packers or Steelers are ever going to be back in the Super Bowl," Lewis, 26, said. He added that he believes the league had no choice but to increase the offer because a labor dispute threatens next season, and the Super Bowl, scheduled for Indianapolis' Lucas Stadium, may not even take place.