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 17 days until the Super Bowl.
On Wednesday the New York/New Jersey Host Committee held a press conference to explain the security procedures that would be in place for Super Bowl 48. At the end of the hour, it was clear that peace of mind for 80,000 fans and 12 million residents of the metro area won’t come cheaply.
Local police departments -- and we’re including New York City and New Jersey State Police, as well as the FBI, New Jersey Transit Police and Port Authority -- are all putting manpower and equipment into the security effort. More than 100 law enforcement agencies were involved in planning and 4,000 security officials will be on site during the game.
The waterways and airspace around MetLife Stadium will be secured on Feb. 2 as well, with divers and boats to protect the team hotels along the water in Jersey City.
So who pays for all of this?
The NFL’s chief security officer, Jeffrey Miller, said the league is spending $11 million on security efforts, which is a lot of money but probably a drop in the security bucket.
Because the Super Bowl was designated a Level 1 national security event after Sept. 11, 2001, it means that federal, state and local officials can designate funds from their operating budgets to cover related costs.
“The fact that this is event is a SEAR 1 event, it’s a special event assessment rating 1 event, that process allows federal entities to expend appropriated dollars in support of that event,” Miller said. “In their normal operating they’ll be permitted to assign resources, that’s where we get that support from the federal government. And then the state police, they’re here for every game we work anyway. So they’re going to be here like they’d always be, but they’ll be additional resources employed because it’s a Super Bowl.”
The upshot: The money to protect the Super Bowl and attendant events is absorbed by the agencies involved, although none of the representatives put a dollar amount on the total cost.
“It comes out of our operating budgets,” said Col. Rick Fuentes, the superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
Fuentes said that his agency would keep costs down by using regular hours for Super Bowl security, as opposed to overtime on the Sunday of the game.
Every person and vehicle heading into a four-mile long security perimeter will be screened before entry. Each of the 80,000 ticketholders and each car with a parking pass will get the same treatment.
It’s an impressive effort, and an expensive one.
Super welcome: The New York and New Jersey Host Committee plan to kick off the week before the Super Bowl with fireworks and a concert on Mon. Jan. 27. The Goo Goo Dolls and Daughtry will perform at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, N.J.
Tickets to this are free and can be gotten through SBKickoffSpectacular.com. Parking is free but limited, and can be acquired through the website. Macy’s is hosting the fireworks and Fox will televise portions of the show.
Brick's house: The New York Jets are setting up a temporary lounge space near Penn Station for season-ticket holders that will feature visits from current and former players the week leading up to the Super Bowl. The space will be called Jets House.
The team announced that Wayne Chrebet, Freeman McNeil, Nick Folk, Geno Smith and Muhammad Wilkerson would be among those tapped to attend. On Sun. Jan. 26 things get started with a brunch hosted by D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
The Jets are also hosting a contest to find a fan between the ages of 6 and 13 to attend the game with team owner Woody Johnson. Rules and entry form are here.
HOVA: DirecTV announces Jay-Z will perform at its Super Bowl party on Saturday Feb. 1. For my money, it could be the best concert of the entire week. You can’t buy a ticket, however. You have to be invited, buy an extraordinarily expensive ticket on the secondary market, or become Beyonce’s best friend within the course of the week. Good luck.
Let it snow: Former player Nate Jackson has an excellent read in the New York Times opinion section about how much he loved playing on cold days. He never wore sleeves, because he wanted that connection to the ball.
Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.