James Cassella, the mayor of East Rutherford, N.J., finally got a ticket to the Super Bowl, which will be held in his own city Sunday, and it came from an unlikely place.
Colts owner Jim Irsay gave Cassella the invitation to his suite for the Broncos-Seahawks game.
“I was quite surprised, being Indy is halfway across the country,” Cassella told ESPN.com during a phone call, “and I would never expect something like that.”
The incident points out the difference between the perceived haves in New York City and the have-nots in New Jersey, where the game is being held.
“This is not some sort of contest between New York and New Jersey,” Cassella said, “but I thought New Jersey would be promoted more than it has been. New York by itself is a promotion, whereas New Jersey probably needed more promotion to get people to come here.”
Many of the parties and events this week have been in Manhattan, in addition to Super Bowl Boulevard set along a stretch of Broadway in Midtown.
“I understood from the beginning when this was first announced that this was going to be a New York event,” Cassella said. “It was here because of New York City and certainly I was not surprised how this all evolved.”
He was asked if the NFL had reached out to him while all this was going on.
“I got zero response,” Cassella said. “The NFL quite frankly probably doesn’t know that we exist over here.”
He said the Super Bowl isn’t about true football fans anyway.
“All of a sudden it turned into this Hollywood production where you hear more about the halftime show, the commercials, than you do about the football game,” Cassella said. “The NFL has created this, but this game is not for people that during the course of a season spend a lot of money on tickets, a lot of money on merchandise, the real football fans. And they’re the ones that get shut out because of the price of the ticket, the availability of the ticket, so this game is not really for the football fan.”