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Met Life Stadium

What Is The Price of Security at the 2014 Super Bowl Game?

| Sande Caplin |

What a monumental job preparing for the most-watched sporting event, mixing logistics and planning, and this year, a prediction of freezing weather. Standard operating procedures just got a lot more complicated, with the possibility of snow and ice that will add extra layers of logistics.

First, there are traffic challenges because the game is being played on the doorstep of New York City, the city that never sleeps. There will be traffic gridlocks, such as snarls of traffic and in the tunnels that connect New York and New Jersey and New York. Even when all lanes are open it’s slow moving, at best.

This 2014 Super Bowl is being called the first mass transit bowl, and this is why: Met Life Stadium parking lots will have their number of spaces cut from 29,000 to about 11,000. The security perimeter and space for support vehicles and satellite trucks eat up acres of pavement, as well as the tented security checkpoints where screening will include metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs.

Bomb Sniffing DogsThe Roster of officials, police and FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Port Authority Police Department and the New York Police Dept. will play major roles keeping the area safe the week preceding the game as well as the game. There are roughly 100 agencies lined up for security including the U.S. Coast Guard.

There’s a stretch of Broadway in Manhattan that will turn Broadway into Super Bowl Blvd. These 13 blocks from Times Square to Herald Square will become an open-air football festival that one FBI official call a “street fair on steroids.” Representatives from the remaining teams in the playoffs — the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots, the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers — met this week with league officials in Jersey City, where the two Super Bowl teams will stay, to discuss logistical issues.

This, the 48th Super Bowl marks the first time the game will be played around the New York City area. The National Football League is spending more than $10,000,000 to hire thousands of private security officers to patrol MetLife Stadium.

New Jersey has its share of challenges, with MetLife Stadium becoming a fortress for the game. But New York City, with more than 8 million residents, is likely to be an even bigger chore with crowded streets and area. But New York is well versed in hosting big events, from parades to New Year’s Eve celebrations to meetings of the United Nations General Assembly. Terrorists have taken aim at sporting events at least since the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, and police agencies in the New York area have plenty of practice providing security at the World Series and other games. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the federal government has considered the Super Bowl a Level 1 event. That means the event is eligible for assistance from the Department of Homeland Security, and federal agencies like the F.B.I. and the Federal Aviation Administration are involved as well.

Still, this is the first Super Bowl since the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April and the recent attacks in Russia ahead of the Winter Games in Sochi, so law enforcement will be even more vigilant. Officials from the New York Police Department, including its counterterrorism and intelligence units, have met with the Boston police to learn about the response to the bombings there.

Super Bowl 2014There’s not total cost as of this time, or a projection of how many millions will be spent to protect everyone between New York and New Jersey and all the many public transportation modes between the two areas as well. It’s impossible to imagine what the figure is, but when the dust settles and the game is over, when the stadium and streets and public transportation have been tidied up, the total money spent on security for the 2014th Super Bowl game is sure to blow all of our minds!

Actually, the impending weather with it’s below freezing temperatures also presents a problem for everyone. It’s an all-weather sport with all-weather fans and this year they’re playing in an all-weather city. Should be really interesting.

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