Not since Super Bowl XXI, the next-to-last NFL game played in the Rose Bowl, have more than 100,000 fans attended a championship game.
This year, it’s virtually certain that more than 100,000 will attend the game in Dallas, especially since the term “attend” will be defined loosely to include folks who pay $200 to watch the game outside Cowboys Stadium on an HD screen. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tells Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com that those folks will count toward the official attendance.
Per Watkins, roughly 93,000 are expected to be inside the stadium. The record for Super Bowl attendance was set in January 1980, when 103,985 attended the game between the L.A. Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The first regular-season game ever played at Cowboys Stadium, a 2009 loss to the Giants, drew 105,121 fans, thanks to ample use of “party pass” standing-room tickets. A 2005 regular-season game between the Cardinals and 49ers in Mexico City attracted 103,467.
But should folks who aren’t even in the stadium count toward attendance? At a minimum, a Texas-sized asterisk needs to be applied to the final number.