The 2013 NFL season is just weeks away and fans across the country are eager to see their favorite teams in its home opener. But fans not aware of the 2013 Stadium Bag Policy might be forced to walk back to their cars to drop off items no longer accepted at all NFL stadiums.
In response to heightened security concerns, in part due to the Boston Marathon bombings, the NFL has enacted stricter bag restriction,s designed to improve the public’s safety and expedite movement through security lines at all NFL stadiums. The recommendation was approved during league meetings in May and went into effect at the start of the 2013 NFL preseason. Of course the NFL is taking advantage of this new policy by selling clear plastic bags with official NFL team logo at the NFL Shop.
Among items no longer allowed are backpacks, large purses, diaper bags, large totes, briefcases, seat cushions and coolers. Fortunately blankets are allowed, provided it’s tossed over the shoulder, good news for cold weather stadiums like in Green Bay, New York and Chicago. Anyone unaware of the new bag policy attempting to bring in a so-called "noncompliant item" at the gate will be turned away and will be asked to drop off these items in their vehicles or check them in a facility outside the bag restricted area.
While most fans accept the implementation of stricter security guidelines, the new policy hasn’t been without instances of mass confusion, long lines and complaints at some NFL stadiums. Others are taking the new "All Clear" policy in stride, by posting jokes on social media, such as the recent satirical video “My Purse, My Choice” featuring two women who urge others to “take a stand” on the policy.
Once the regular season begins Thursday, September 5, with the Denver Broncos hosting the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at Mile High Stadium, it’s likely most fans will have already made the adjustment and will arrive at the stadium well prepared. Whether all fans appreciate the added security or not remains up for debate. Yet despite some criticism from ticket holders, the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences. Fans will have a safer environment when attending NFL games and no one really likes waiting in long lines so that security personnel can search through backpacks that require extra moments of scrutiny.
As convenient as backpacks are, they’re not helpful when negotiating through large crowds, even after entering the stadium. The prime example is an individual wearing a backpack in a crowded subway car instead of placing it down. Although only a relatively small percentage of people with backpacks nudged past fans last season, the absence of bulky backpacks at NFL stadiums will no doubt ease the flow of traffic to concession stands and restrooms. There’s also bound to be more legroom for fans used to sitting next to a cooler or other large personal item.
Yes, the pat downs and metal scans will still be there, and maybe the lines will seem slow, but the NFL expects movement of security lines to move more efficiently, allowing fans to get to their seats quicker and more safely. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any new provision for fans rushing onto the field, and maybe that’s ok as long as the mischievious antics remains completely harmless.