MINNEAPOLIS -- One of the odd stories after last year's Super Bowl was the theft of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's game jersey from the postgame locker room by a member of the international media. The NFL has changed its Super Bowl security procedures this year to make sure that doesn't happen again.
As part of the new procedures, media entering the locker rooms after the game will have their credentials scanned via RFID readers that will help keep track of who's in the locker room at all times. Media covering the Super Bowl received this information in a news release Thursday outlining game day procedures:
"Only individuals assigned a working press credential will be admitted to the locker room postgame. Any person entering or exiting the locker room must 'tap in' and 'tap out' when entering or leaving utilizing the RF readers located at the entrance to the locker room. There will be an electronic chip embedded in every credential -- both media and non-media -- and electronic readers at the entry. Failure to 'tap out' when leaving will prevent a timely re-entry into the locker room area upon your return."
The chips and RF readers are new. At normal NFL games -- as was the case at previous Super Bowls -- credentials were subject to a visual check by locker room security personnel. You needed a pass to get in, but you could come and go as you pleased as long as you kept showing it, and there was no log kept of who was going in and out and when. In light of last year's Brady jersey situation, the NFL decided to take some extra precautions this year.
"We worked extensively since last year's Super Bowl, not only with the clubs but also with our stadium and with technology," NFL chief security officer Cathy Lanier said. "The credentialing has changed and the system itself has changed. Who gets access, where and how they get access has changed. Specifically, what door you go in and what time you have access to go in that door.
"The way we like to look at this is, we are doing every possible thing with cameras and technology to keep things secure all the way up to that locker room door. Then we rely on our partners from our clubs, and that would be the Patriots and the Eagles that are here, to make sure with everything that goes on inside that locker room, they keep safe. It has been an extensive review and extensive changes that we made, but as you know, even with credentialed people in a really tight security operation, there can be incidents. We're hoping that that does not happen this year."