NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Heading back to his hometown, Jacoby Jones couldn't afford to tell the truth.
The All-Pro kick returner for the Baltimore Ravens got 15 tickets for the Super Bowl as a participating player. The demand from family, friends in New Orleans was way beyond that.
No Big Easy there.
"I told my family before I left (Baltimore) I only got nine," Jones said, shaking his head and smiling. "They're expensive and I'll do something for you during the game, so y'all can be together."
Each Raven and San Francisco 49er player and coach had access to 15 tickets: two complimentary, the rest for purchase. Prices range this year from $800 to $1,200, the same as last year in Indianapolis.
When the game was last played in New Orleans 11 years ago, every seat cost $400.
Tickets also are available to players on injured reserve. For the 49ers, that's almost 90 people, not counting front office personnel who generally had access to two tickets each.
"I said I only got nine so they'd fight over them," Jones said with a laugh. Then he did a really smart thing: He put his mother, Emily, in charge of ticketing. "My mom is old school, no nonsense. She's from here, born and raised. It will be immediate family."
Jones tried to make up for the shortfall by buying the rest of his family jerseys, about 30 in all.
Teammate Ed Reed was in the same pickle. He's from New Orleans, too. So the star safety sought advice from Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who played in a Super Bowl in his hometown of Miami three years ago.
"I would actually auction off tickets to random folk if I could," Reed said. "I'm still kind of chopping things down, making sure you've got your lists right, especially when you come home. You want everyone to come to the game.
"Honestly, I could fill the Superdome up. I could fill every seat. I would love to, but you can't. So I want my family to know that right now. Things are starting to get a little pricey, but I'm just grateful to go through it. I could do this every year."
With a seven-figure salary, he could. Some other players who don't quite earn those big bucks might find a yearly Super Bowl trip too expensive.
"I took all 15, for everybody in my family and my boys back home in Indy," said second-year receiver Tandon Doss, a backup for the Ravens. "It's the Super Bowl."