Roads froze and airports closed. Falling ice sent six people to the hospital. Finally, seats to the big game vanished hours before kickoff. Super Bowl week in Texas was not so super.
Annoyance over difficult driving conditions and altered travel plans early in the week turned to anger Sunday for hundreds of fans with tickets who were forced to watch Green Bay beat Pittsburgh on TV at $1.3 billion Cowboys Stadium in suburban Arlington because their temporary seats weren’t ready.
Visitors left Dallas-Fort Worth en masse Monday, many wondering whether the region had been prepared to host an event of such magnitude.
“Logistics are a major, major problem here,” said John Boyle, a 53-year-old Packers fan who was waiting at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport for a flight home to Minnesota. “And I think everyone would say the same thing.”
North Texas wasn’t at fault for the seating problem – the NFL officially took the blame and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said his team shared it.
The region had no control over the weather, either, but that wasn’t much consolation to the owner of a Super Bowl memorabilia shop in downtown Dallas. Matt Smith said business for the week was off 90 percent Friday, when an overnight snowstorm capped a 100-hour stretch of subfreezing temperatures that turned sidewalks into slide-walks and kept many people off the streets.
Las Vegas’ books take a major hit
Thanks to a high-scoring game, a decisive margin of victory by the favored Green Bay Packers and a slew of other breaks, the public made off with riches Sunday at sports books throughout Las Vegas.
“It was bad,” said MGM Resorts Race and Sports Book director Jay Rood, whose 11-property operation slipped into deep trouble when the Packers surged to a 21-3 lead.
A Steelers fourth-quarter touchdown and two-point conversion (also paying big odds as an exotic bet) put the game over the 45 1/2 -point total that Las Vegas bookmakers had assessed would be the best number to draw bettors considering a game between two of the NFL’s top defenses.
“The combination of the ‘over’ and the Packers’ victory was lethal,” Rood said. “It’s the worst Super Bowl I’ve seen since being here in 1993. There was no getting around it. Not a great scenario.”
No one enjoyed the roller-coaster ride of events as much as Steve Purcell, 36, of New York, who shimmied on the Mirage sports book carpet and was doused in beer after realizing these winnings: a lucrative parlay of Packers to the over, a $200 future-book bet made before the season on the 14-to-1 Packers to win the Super Bowl, a $50 bet that Green Bay’s Nick Collins would intercept a pass that paid $750, and another longshot gamble that Packers receiver Jordy Nelson would score the game’s first touchdown.
“I can’t even put it into words,” Purcell said, standing in the collection line. “All I can do is this,” duplicating the title-belt fitting around the waist move created by Rodgers.
Nevada gaming authorities are expected to release by today the final numbers of how state casinos fared. Last year, there were $82.7 million bet on Super Bowl Sunday, with state casinos collecting $6.8 million.
This year, the deficit should border on a Vegas bloodbath, considering that a $1 million bet and scores of five-figure wagers such as those Rood allowed Sunday were public payouts.
Rodgers celebrates at Disney World
Aaron Rodgers’ smile never faded as he rode on the back of a convertible pacing down a confetti-filled parade route through Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla., on Monday.
The Super Bowl MVP was operating on a few hours’ sleep following Green Bay’s 31-25 win over Pittsburgh Sunday. But even with a Florida afternoon storm threatening in the distance, it was clear nothing could cloud the Packer quarterback’s spirit.
“It’s a special day, it really is,” Rodgers said afterward. “I didn’t get a lot of sleep (Sunday) night, but it’s great to be able to celebrate. This is a team that came together and accomplished something special.”
Rodgers became the latest Super Bowl MVP to participate in Disney’s “I’m going to Disney World” commercial series that celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. Former Giants QB Phil Simms was the first to do it following Super Bowl XXI.
Rodgers stopped in New York to appear on “The Late Show” with David Letterman on Monday night before rejoining his teammates for a celebration at Lambeau Field today.