If you had close to a half of a million friends coming to your house for a weekend long party, you might want to make a few plans. Order extra food, make sure everyone brings extra pillows and blankets, maybe plan a few events and breakout the board games so everyone can enjoy themselves.
Now suppose your house is the states of New York and New Jersey, and that weekend long party is the 2014 Super Bowl, you may want to start looking at a few other things. At the top of the NFL’s list: security.
New York is no stranger to big events and bright lights, the city hosts major concerts, sporting events (the World Series almost perennially), the annual tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller center and a plethora of other high profile events. With an estimated 500,000 fans expected to pour into the tri-state the NFL and other security entities are stepping up their measures to make this the most secure event possible.
Security at the Stadium
A double chain link and jersey barricade fence nearly 4 miles long, encircling MetLife Stadium and a 300-foot buffer in all directions, as well as the Izod Center. Preparations are already well underway, and the NFL, along with external security organizations, has begun securing MetLife Stadium for the 2014 Super Bowl. Here are some of the precautions and measures being put into place:
- A week before the game, cars and vendors will be searched and X-rayed.
- The power station will be inside the security perimeter, unlike last year in New Orleans, which was an issue during the blackout in the third quarter.
- There's a VACIS, or vehicle and cargo inspection system. Basically an MRI for shipped stuff, that's where any truck that delivers anything for the Super Bowl will be screened.
- Most everything that needs to be in the stadium on game day needs to be there by Friday. Golf carts, generators, fuel, literally anything has to be in that perimeter, and has to have been inspected.
Along the same lines, wireless providers will be ramping up service so that fans can enjoy the game--and safety personnel can be in contact with each other. Verizon is said to be quadrupling it's 4G capacity in MetLife Stadium, while AT&T will be installing about 200 antennas and running over six miles of cable in the stadium. In addition to security, providers are hoping to provide the best digital experience for fans before and during the game.
Security at Super Bowl Boulevard
There are several official events taking place around the Super Bowl, one of the biggest and most publicized is the Super Bowl Boulevard located in Manhattan. Some precautions being taken in the city include:
Sealing manhole covers.
Removing mailboxes and garbage cans.
Alerting shopkeepers and building managers in the many offices in the area.
NYPD officers, closed-circuit cameras, license plate readers, bomb-sniffing dogs and counterterrorism crews will take to the streets.
Much of Midtown will be closed to cars for days as NFL officials set up Super Bowl Boulevard.
Game Day Security
On game day, fans will see security (and lots of it) before they enter the stadium. Here are some of the measures being taken on game day:
- Four thousand officers from more than 100 agencies will flank the stadium.
- Access points for fans and staff, at one of seven welcome pavilions the league will erect around the perimeter, complete with metal detectors and X-ray machines.
- Only 12,000 of the 28,000 parking spots at MetLife Stadium will be available for the game; security, NFL personnel and others will take the rest. Tailgating isn't permitted outside of individual parking spots and grills aren't allowed.
- Cars without parking permits and security clearances—including cabs and private cars for hire—will be stopped before nearing the stadium.
- Those riding trains and buses must have Super Bowl tickets and are subject to search before leaving their point of origin.
- The list of contraband items is long, including Frisbees, beach balls, footballs, noisemakers and horns, tripods, umbrellas, strollers and bottles of alcohol.
Each ticket holder can have a clear plastic bag for personal belongings but no backpacks or large purses.
Personnel working the game will undergo an FBI background check.
A no-fly zone one nautical mile (1.15 miles) around the stadium will go into effect on game day between noon and 4 p.m. It will then be expanded to an eight-nautical-mile radius until one hour post- game.
Super Bowl XLVIII: History in the Making
Now that the NFL has taken care of the security details, all that’s left is for fans and players to show up and enjoy the football game of the year!
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