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Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Cops: No Super Bowl security threat

By Jane McManus
ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- As if to buttress the notion that Super Bowl XLVIII will be secured like none other, the NFL hosted a press conference Wednesday in midtown Manhattan, featuring two rows of uniformed officers and suits from local law enforcement and the FBI, with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson seated in the center.

"I just came from MetLife Stadium and the command center there, where I received a security briefing," Johnson began.

A few minutes later, New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton clarified that, as of noon on Wednesday, there were no specific threats against the first Super Bowl ever held in the New York and New Jersey area.

"As of this time there are no threats directed against this event that we're aware of," Bratton said.

Despite that reassurance, there will be a massive security presence at Super Bowl XLVIII and many of the venues surrounding the game.

"Obviously at a game of this magnitude, it's an American tradition, it's televised throughout the world, so that might spur more people to pay attention to it," Ford said. "So we are obviously well aware and on guard for anyone who wants to detract from the game."

For that reason, no bags are allowed at the Super Bowl this year; only small one-gallon freezer bags can be brought in. Fans will pass through metal detectors and will then be subject to a pat-down search and will have to unzip their outer garments for security personnel.

Ford said the game itself is actually easier to secure than some of the other venues in the city. Super Bowl Boulevard is one multiblock, outdoor event that will be attended by thousands.

"These are considered soft targets and there's no screening process," Ford said. "This is America, open and free society that we live in and we want people to be free to walk about. However, when you deal with soft targets, they are more vulnerable to home-grown violent extremists coming to do something you don't expect."

New Jersey State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes said that the recent deadly attacks outside Sochi, the site of the upcoming Winter Olympics, have sparked additional concern about the safety of trains and buses.

"As you know, both of those bombings target mass transit," Fuentes said, adding that his officers have taken additional safety measures that he didn't want to detail.

The New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee has dubbed this the "Mass Transit Super Bowl." Only 11,000 pre-sold parking spots will be available, and 15,000 attendees are expected to arrive by bus, and another 12,000-15,000 by New Jersey Transit trains. The security gates will open at 2 p.m. ET, and the parking lots at noon on game day. Cars will be subject to thermal imaging and scanning.

The stadium has been locked down since last Sunday. There will 10,000 stadium workers on game day, 4,000 security personnel and 700 New Jersey State Troopers.

Fuentes reiterated that the police have been on the lookout to stop human trafficking as it relates to Super Bowl visitors, and the planning for that focus started a year ago.