Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are 99 days to the Super Bowl.
Each week, Jets or Giants fans load their grills into cars, cover marinating meat with foil and fill the cooler with beer for a pregame tailgate. At the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, there just won’t be a lot of room for that.
Super Bowl host committee president and CEO Al Kelly said the 28,000 parking sports normally reserved for MetLife Stadium ticket holders will be slashed to 12,000.
The reason? The NFL and security officials mandate a buffer zone outside any stadium hosting a Super Bowl. So the committee is already working on a Plan B.
“We are calling this the public transportation Super Bowl,” host committee co-chairman Jonathan Tisch said. “It’s important to note that we are losing half of our parking spaces due to the security perimeter around the stadium. People should really start to think about the bus they’re going to take, the train they’re going to take.”
The security perimeter will also host the check points for fans to come through. Those checks can be extensive, and the same one-bag policy will be in effect for the Super Bowl as has been implemented in the rest of the league. So no purses and backpacks, just a small clear bag for each ticket holder.
There will be extra buses for fans on game day, although the trains that run from Manhattan to East Rutherford are also an easy choice. That is, barring any kind of snow or freezing rain. During the week before the game, the committee recommends visitors get to know the New York subway system.
So get ready, New York. Not only will the traffic snarls, competition for empty cabs and fully-booked restaurants confront you all week, but the subways will be filled with out-of-towners trying to find Super Bowl Boulevard on a map. It might be a small price to pay for hosting the NFL’s championship game.