- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS -- Mark Cuban snickered about all the drama surrounding the Super Bowl XLV seating screwup and made a strong prediction that the NFL's championship game would return to Cowboys Stadium as soon as possible.
"I guarantee you without any doubt in my mind that they will come back the minute they are able to," said Cuban, the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and a man known to speak his mind. "There is just too much upside. You have these little bumps and bruises. That ain't [expletive]."
Approximately 1,250 temporary seats at the $1.2 billion stadium were not completely installed and were declared unusable hours before the Green Bay Packers' win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The NFL moved 850 fans to similar or better seats, taking tickets away from several league and Cowboys employees to make room.
An estimated 400 fans who had tickets with a face value of $800 did not get seats in the stadium. Those fans were given the option of watching the game while standing on a platform or viewing it on television while sitting in a club behind the Steelers' bench. The fans were given three times the face value of their tickets and allowed to go on the field after the game.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday those fans would be "guests of the NFL" at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis next year.
"Manpower and timing issues caused inconveniences to some fans," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. "At the end of the preparations, approximately 400 fans attending the game were not able to watch from those installed seats. We deeply regret their Super Bowl experience was impacted by this error, and we share that responsibility with the NFL."
Goodell said earlier in the day that the problems with the seats were "obviously a failure on our behalf," adding that the league takes the responsibility.
As far as Cuban is concerned, neither the league nor the Cowboys are to blame. He pointed at the vendors contracted to install the seats as the problem.
"It's not like Jerry Jones is going to be able to go up there and set the seats up himself,'' Cuban said. "So you work with vendors and you trust them, and sometimes they come through and sometimes they don't.
"And when they don't, they're not the ones that are going to look bad. In that case, Jerry and the NFL looks bad. But I wouldn't put it on Jerry or the NFL.''
Cuban partnered with Jones to bring the NBA All-Star Game to Cowboys Stadium last year. A crowd of 108,713 watched that game, shattering the record for attendance at a basketball game.
As is the case with the Super Bowl, Cuban is extremely confident that Cowboys Stadium will be in the regular rotation for NBA All-Star Games.
"It just makes too much sense," Cuban said. "It's enclosed, it's beautiful and it's got all the suites. It's an opportunity for everybody to do business and for the fans to have fun."
There is one thing that Cuban said he would have done differently than the NFL and Jones given the circumstances on Super Bowl Sunday.
"I would have called suite holders and said, 'Hey, here's what the problem is, would you do me a favor?'" said Cuban, a Pittsburgh native who watched the game from a luxury suite. "And I'm sure many of us would have.
"We had a couple of extra seats that a couple of people could have stayed in my suite if they were Steeler fans."
Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys and Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.
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