At least 200 Dallas Cowboys fans — some of whom camped overnight — were at AT&T Stadium and ready to buy playoff tickets when they went on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
“I’ve been a fan since I can remember. My grandfather brought me into the Cowboys and that’s the way I go at it, my kids are the same way,” said Jose Zarate of Dallas, the first fan in line, who arrived at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
While he was not thrilled with his standing-room-only party passes, other fans were glad to get them.
“I’m not happy. I wanted actual seats,” Zarate said. “I might give these away to family members and try to find better ones online. They misled people, next time they shouldn’t let season ticket holders buy all the seats.”
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Season ticket holders had a chance to purchase tickets beginning Tuesday, at $115-$560 per seat. The remaining standing-room-only party passes were on sale Wednesday for $40, with a limit of four per person.
“We’re excited for our fans. We’re looking forward to a great playoff run,” said Cowboys spokesman Joe Trahan. “We share the same excitement they do. We have the best fans in the world.”
The Cowboys are No. 1 in home attendance this NFL season, averaging 92,539 fans per game at AT&T Stadium. The New York Giants — the only team to beat the Cowboys this year — are a distant second, with an average home attendance of 78,789, figures show.
Trahan did not immediately have information on how many playoff tickets were available Wednesday, but an earlier news release said the number would be “very limited.”
‘They’re amazing this year’
The Cowboys end the regular season Sunday at the Philadelphia Eagles, and thanks to their NFC-best 13-2 record, have a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Their first playoff game, in the divisional round, will be either Jan. 14 or 15. The AFC and NFC championship games are Jan. 22 and Super Bowl LI is Feb. 5 in Houston.
David Hernandez of Fort Worth, who got to the stadium at 5 a.m., was excited, even though he will be standing at the divisional playoff game.
“I wanted a seat but I wasn’t expecting to get a seat. All in all I’m going to the game,” he said.
Erica Cazares said she felt the same way. “We’re excited. We like to be in the crowd. I don’t know anyone at Cowboys games that likes to sit. You’re in the zone.”
Julio Garza of Dallas arrived at the stadium at around 11 p.m. Tuesday and was behind about 30 people in line. The lifelong fan said he took a three-hour nap but hadn’t left the stadium.
He and his group planned to be on the phone trying to buy tickets as they waited in line, hoping to get 12 in all.
“I’d love to be here for history being made,” Garza said. “They’re amazing this year. It’s a hot team, everything’s in line this year.”
‘It’s been so long’
The Cowboys' last appearance in the playoffs came in the 2014 season, when they defeated the Detroit Lions in the wild card round at AT&T Stadium and lost to the Packers in Green Bay in the divisional round — a game that was defined by Dez Bryant’s catch that wasn’t.
Now, behind rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys are hoping to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1996, when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17, in Super Bowl XXX.
Since that 1995-96 season, they’ve reached the playoffs eight times but have yet to return to the NFC championship game. In fact, the Cowboys have only won two playoff games since 2000.
“It’s been 21 years. That’s why it’s so hyped and that’s why we’re so crazy about it and we’re willing to wait out here for the tickets,” Zarate said. “It’s been so long.”