SBD/January 16, 2014/Events and AttractionsPrint All
NFL and police officials yesterday outlined the security detail that will be in place around Super Bowl XLVIII, noting that "more than 4,000 police officers from dozens of agencies will surround MetLife Stadium" to patrol the area "on foot, by helicopter and in boats," according to Josh Dawsey of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Officials said that they "studied previous Super Bowls and revamped procedures after the Boston Marathon bombings last April." New Jersey State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes: "We have been over every possible contingency and what would be the ways we would address them." Officials said that the security strategy was "multipronged and began several years ago." Dawsey notes the "first noticeable signs are likely to come a week before the game, when MetLife Stadium goes into a lockdown mode, with cars and vendors being searched and X-rayed." On game day, "bomb squads, SWAT teams and others will flank the outside parking lots, and have a presence inside the stadium as well." The NFL said that it has spent about $11M on security, and other agencies "are spending their own funds, though they declined to say how much" yesterday (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/16). On Long Island, Joan Gralla reports "airport-style screening outside the stadium will greet fans" as they enter MetLife Stadium. NFL Chief Security Officer Jeffrey Miller said that fans will be "funneled through giant tents in the stadium parking lot dubbed 'Welcome Pavilions.'" Miller: "We will try to get people through fairly rapidly." Ticket holders "will undergo the same kind of screening -- pat-downs, metal detectors and X-rays -- that airports conduct." New Jersey Transit Police Chief Christopher Trucillo: "Nobody at this table has to be reminded in the shadow of the World Trade Center how important this event is to make people feel safe" (NEWSDAY, 1/16).
I'LL TAKE MANHATTAN: In N.Y., Ken Belson writes the challenges surrounding the Super Bowl this year "will extend far beyond" the game site "to the heart of Manhattan, where the NFL will turn a stretch of Broadway into Super Bowl Boulevard." Those 13 blocks, from Times Square to Herald Square, "will become an open-air football festival that one FBI official called a 'street fair on steroids.'" NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau Chief James Waters said that because Broadway "would be closed during most of the day, delivery trucks should arrive between midnight and 11 a.m. and use hand carts while the Boulevard was open." Vendors at Super Bowl Boulevard also will "have to be screened, and police departments in other cities will be contacted to see if any particularly rowdy fans have traveled to the New York area." The mix of locations "across multiple jurisdictions, and across state lines, is one reason the NFL is working with more than 100 law enforcement agencies to protect the weeklong extravaganza." Miller said compared with other Super Bowls, "There are things that are more complex than we’ve been looking at." He added, "There are a number of private events, NFL events, and we look how they fit together. It’s all a bunch of dominoes, and when you move one thing, it affects others" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/16).
The PGA Tour Humana Challenge in its current form is characterized by "corporate executives, carrot sticks and early morning power walks," as opposed to the "Rat Pack, T-bone steaks and late-night cocktails" when the tournament was known as the Bob Hope Classic, according to John Nicholson of the AP. Tournament Exec Dir & CEO Bob Marra said, "We take the health and well-being mission of the tournament very seriously ... We want to make this clearly the healthiest sports event in the world. You have to walk the walk when you say that." The tournament has "done away with the celebrity portion of the pro-am field," though actor Craig T. Nelson, singer Michael Bolton, Cardinals K Jay Feely and Golf Channel's Holly Sonders "are playing as 'special guests.'" Marra said, "We feel like it's more important to have high-profile people -- still celebrities in their own right -- who are aligned with the tournament philosophy than to have a field of celebrities. ... A super-hot celebrity who is smacking the ball all over the place and causing a ruckus hurts." Nicholson noted the pro-am players "paid from $25,000 to $29,000 to play alongside the professionals for the first three days of the tournament, and six of them will advance to the final round." The event by eliminating the "roughly 20 slots" given to celebrities "cut expenses and generated more than $500,000." Marra: "There was only so much you could do with celebrities. It was a neat part of the past, but I like it better now" (AP, 1/15).
HOPE & CHANGE: GOLFWEEK's Jeff Rude noted Hope died more than 10 years ago, and since that time so have his "model and vision" for the annual Tour stop in Palm Springs. The focus now is "more on health than Q-rated party." Golfer and former PGA Tour Policy Board Dir Paul Goydos said, "You could kind of see things changing when Mr. Hope passed. His death changed the dynamic of the event. He drew fans and amateurs." Rude noted many of the pro golfers "weren't wild about playing four different courses and long rounds with three amateur partners." Some celebrities "didn't want to play three or four days, and the quality of celeb dropped off in recent years." The upshot is that "while actors, singers and athletes no longer roam the fairways here, the pro fields are considerably better." Only "one player in the top 40 in the world" played the '08 tournament, while this week’s Humana "has nine of the top 50 and five of the top 31" (GOLFWEEK.com, 1/15). In California, Larry Bohannan asked, "Why are we considering this week’s event part of the lineage of the old Bob Hope tournament and not just a new tournament all together?" Between changing "the name, the number of days, the number of courses and the number of amateurs in the field and now taking the celebrities out of the event, there might not be much to connect this Humana tournament to the old Bob Hope Classic." Bohannan: "But there are connections, nonetheless. And the connections are as strong as the changes have been drastic" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 1/12).