EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Law enforcement officials will use radiological detection devices, metal detectors and police dogs for a full-fledged anti-terrorism effort at Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.
"Nobody at this table needs to be reminded, in the shadow of the World Trade Center, how important this event is to make people safe in our region," New Jersey Transit police chief Christopher Trucillo said.
Eight officials from various New York, New Jersey and national agencies were part of a news conference on security issues on Wednesday at MetLife Stadium. Their comments are the culmination of two years of planning for the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather climate.
The Super Bowl has been a Level 1 national security event since 2002, after the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. This is the first year the Super Bowl has been held in the New York and New Jersey region. The FBI agent in charge of Super Bowl security, Aaron Ford, detailed the kinds of threats the group was preparing to address.
"We are fully integrated and unified with the New Jersey State Police and our law enforcement partners," Ford said. "Our tactical teams have been training throughout the year for different scenarios to include active shooter, bomb threats and casualties related to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear threats. We have a number of agents and professional staff prepared to respond."
Although these efforts have been part of the planning and will continue on game day, NFL chief security officer Jeffrey Miller said it was being done so the fans could worry about the game, not safety.
"This is the Super Bowl of football, not security," Miller said.
The NFL will have 3,000 security professionals on game day, and New Jersey State Police plans to have 700 troopers available. North American Aerospace Defense Command will control air space, and police boats will patrol the waterways near the stadium.
Miller said the security process for fans will be like security at the airport -- there will be screening that includes metal detectors, handheld metal detectors, dogs and X-rays. Fans can come to the stadium in three ways: a car or a bus with a parking pass, the Fan Express or the New Jersey Transit.
Individual cars and buses will be screened for explosives when they enter the property before they can park, according to Super Bowl incident commander Lt. Col. Edward Cetnar of the New Jersey State Police. There will be a security perimeter 300 feet around the stadium, and the area will go into lockdown on Jan. 27.
On game day, bus and train riders can expect to go through additional security before the trip begins and must have a ticket to the Super Bowl with them in addition to their train or bus ticket.
Fans will not be allowed to walk to the stadium, and cabs won't be allowed to drop off ticket holders.
The security screening on game day will begin at 2 p.m. ET for the 6:30 p.m. game. The NFL released a list of prohibited items that includes firearms, food, footballs and backpacks but isn't substantially different from the game-day guidelines that were adopted for the regular season. Personal belongings should fit in a small, clear plastic bag, and anyone needing more for medical reasons will be directed to a specific screening area.
Outside the stadium Wednesday, it was obvious that work has already begun to transform the area. Welcome pavilions are in the process of being erected, and snow chutes have been installed to direct snow from the upper decks so the stadium can be easily cleared.
The field at MetLife was covered with a tarp, which was tented to the heated air being blown underneath it. The field is drying so that it can be painted with logos, including end zone logos for the two teams that will make it to the Super Bowl by winning their games on Sunday.