I know. Who doesn't want to be in this picture right now? But if instead you are headed to Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ for the Super Bowl this Sunday, don’t worry about the weather. Might be a little cold (although not polar vortex cold) but at least it’s not supposed to rain, which is good news because among the very long list of things you can’t bring into the stadium are umbrellas. Also, no beach balls. Oh well. (Perhaps they meant “snow balls”?)
Anyway, in addition to the umbrella ban, Met Life stadium is taking all kinds of safety precautions. NBC News notes that there will be “more than 3,000 security guards, 700 cops and hundreds of high-tech gadgets” as people enter. In fact, law enforcement is launching “the biggest and most-expensive security net in the 48-year history of the game.” However,
This Super Bowl, says Ed Hartnett, former head of the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Unit, “truly defines the word ‘challenge’ when it comes to security.”
There is no intelligence indicating that terrorists have targeted the game or related events, but Hartnett says that doesn’t mean that threats don’t exist: “I would list them in priority order being a suicide bomber, a vehicle laden with explosives and a mass shooter or mass shooters similar to the Kenyan mall, or the Mumbai incidents,” he said. His concerns are echoed by law enforcement officials overseeing the game.
Also, “Of particular concern for security officials are potential bombings like those that killed 34 people in a railway station and on a trolley in Russia ahead of the upcoming Sochi Olympics, said Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police."
Not that we’re trying to scare anyone. But here’s another fun fact that nobody really wants to talk about. If for some reason you attend the Super Bowl and the terrorist security precautions fail, there won’t be much that you can do about it. Well, you can try to hold someone accountable but you won’t get very far in court against Met Life Stadium, that's for sure.
The stadium boasts in its Super Bowl press packet that it is the “first NFL Stadium to be ‘Safety Act Certified’ by the Department of Homeland Security (2013).” We have covered this law before – you can read more about it here. It means that the stadium has “wide-ranging immunity from future lawsuits that might stem from terrorist attacks” i.e., any and all spectators have lost their right to sue for damages.
As Walter Cooper, director of research and education for the University of Southern Mississippi's National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security said earlier, "The NFL has Safety Act approval for its security management system, which means if there is a major incident in an NFL stadium, the league and the team are going to be in a lot better place in terms of litigation that might take place." That means spectators won't be.
If the NFL is so concerned with litigation, perhaps it should figure out how to stop players’ concussive brain injuries, especially since, “Three-quarters of a billion dollars might not be enough to pay former NFL players for damage from the bone-jarring, brain-rattling hits they took on the gridiron,” according to the federal judge who was reviewing a proposed settlement between damaged players and the NFL. Just sayin'.
But as to the Super Bowl, here’s hoping everyone stays safe, or as was recently put by national and local law enforcement, “don't worry, just have fun.” And please, keep the beach balls home.