Super Bowl beefs up security

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fans are expecting that MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey won’t be recognizable in February 2 during the Super Bowl XLVIII, because of the expected severe snowy weather. However, reports are coming in that even without the extreme snowy weather; the stadium still won’t be recognizable because of the extreme security makeover that it got.

According to reports, the transformation that MetLife will get is far greater compared to the rest of the 47 Super Bowls before it. So, just how big will the transformation be on this stadium, which is the first time that the big game will be held outdoors in a city located northeast?  Well, first there will be over 10,000 workers that will start working one full month before the game. These workers will be working on the 82,500-seat MetLife Stadium to make it spic and span for all the fans that will be coming in to watch Super Bowl XLVIII.

With the two of the host teams Giants and Jets not making it to the postseason, it would be easier for NFL to prepare the MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl XLVIII. It is easier for NFL to prepare the venue for the big game on February 2 if there are no local playoff games.

The Department of Homeland Security requires a massive perimeter and major building overhaul to provide a Level 1 national security for the event. They started working on the transformation on Thursday. The Giants ended their season playing against the Redskins in the venue, just four days before the Department of Homeland Security started working of the Stadium.

The NFL requires so much time to secure a perimeter, which will be 300 feet from the stadium. The perimeter is going to be a 2.5-mile long chain-link fence that is about six to eight feet tall. There will be “welcome pavilions” along this chain-link and these will have 130 metal detectors. This will be set right outside the fences where the tickets will be scanned for the fans to get through security during the big day. Every ticket holder can be allowed only one transparent plastic bag for their personal belongings. No backpacks and large purses are allowed during the big game on Feb 2.

Inside the perimeter, Homeland Security also puts up vehicle inspection areas to make sure everything will have an appropriate computer screening. They will be very meticulous in checking everything, to make sure that the Boston marathon Bombing will not happen again. Imagine the entire old grandstand located at the Meadowlands Racetracks, the parking garage of the arena and the Izod Center all fit inside the security perimeter set up Homeland Security; that is how wide the perimeter will be.  This tight set up will even help you earn a new friend, just like how Sam and Frodo travelled to Mordor.

NFL senior vice president of events Frank Supovitz said the big game is definitely going to be a historic occasion. He said there is a first time for everything and that it is vital to get it right the first time. This is why Supovitz, who oversees the Super Bowl XLVIII, and the rest of his crew are extremely focused on the elements of the stadium up to the last detail.

Supovitz said the perimeter is a very complex construction with plenty of arms and legs, not just a circle. It will be like how airline terminals would look like. He said NFL has prioritized security from the very beginning. In line with the 9/11 Twin Tower bombing, the federal government designated Super Bowl XLVIII as a Level 1 national security event, said Supovitz.

Another important security feature for this Super Bowl event will be that the power station will be located inside the security perimeter. Last year, it was outside the security perimeter in New Orleans where the black out became one of the main issues.

Vehicles will also undergo its own version of MRI called vehicle and cargo inspection system (VACIS) to check the stuff in undisclosed areas near MetLife. Delivery trucks for the Super Bowl will undergo VACIS to ensure security. These vehicles need to be in the manifest, inspected and approved before getting in the perimeter.

Supovitz said everything needed in the stadium for the big game will be there Friday, three days before Feb 2. Everything must be inspected through the perimeter.

There will be seven access points for both fans and staff during the big game. Supovitz said, the Level 1 designation from the federal government means they have to take extreme measures, which means they will not just screen the fans coming in but the staff working for the game as well. Supovitz said, all will undergo background check from the FBI, including him. There are 20,000 credential applications so far, not all will be working for the big game, he said.  Whether in the Radio City Music Hall for the award show, at the Prudential Center in the media day or the Izod Center for the pregame party, all staff will be background-checked by the FBI.

Over 80,000 fans are expected to show up during the Super Bowl XLVIII at the MetLife Stadium, while around 400,000 people are expected to go to New York and New Jersey for all the pre and post parties that will be held for the big game. This is why security for the big game is heightened.

Besides security measures, broadcast facilities are also constructed inside the perimeter. Fox will have their own broadcast facilities in the perimeter, along with 28 international networks, and 5,500 credentialed members of the media that will cover he game. The current playing surface will have a major refresher, but it won’t be replaced. The turf will have an in-depth cleaning. Blowers will also be placed under it so that it will remain warm while moisture will be evaporated two weeks before the game. It will also be thoroughly heated. The Super Bowl Logo will be printed on it and then a tarp will be placed over it.


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