Bags will be off limits in the stands at NFL stadiums this fall

Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 11:46pm

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Bring yourself to the game. Leave the cooler and backpack at home.

The NFL is tightening stadium security starting this preseason, limiting the size and type of bags fans can bring to the game.

The restrictions are designed to enhance security while speeding up entry into stadiums.

With the exception of medically necessary items, only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches will be allowed. One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags also will be OK, as will small clear plastic bags approximately the size of someone's hand, with or without a handle or strap.

One of those clear bags and a small clutch bag will be allowed per person.

Binoculars, cameras, and smartphones also will be permitted.

Banned items will include purses larger than a clutch bag; coolers; briefcases; backpacks; fanny packs; cinch bags; seat cushions; luggage; computer bags; and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.

The league is encouraging fans not to bring any bags to games.

"Our fans deserve to be in a safe and secure environment," Jeffrey Miller, the NFL's chief security officer, said Thursday. "Public safety is our top priority. This will make the job of checking items much more efficient and effective. We will be able to deliver a better and quicker experience at the gates and also provide a safer environment. We appreciate our fans' cooperation."

An NFL committee on stadium security recommended these measures in May and the owners have approved them.

A secondary buffer area well outside the stadium will be established where security personnel will check for prohibited items or bags being carried toward the ballpark. Fans with prohibited bags will be turned away until they dispose of those bags. Stadium personnel are being encouraged to have approved bags on hand to give to fans, or to have a place outside the restricted areas to check items, so that fans can reclaim after games.

Recently, the NFL has done pat downs and bag checks and also used metal detectors to upgrade security. The new policy announced Thursday has worked well at colleges such as Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State, which do not permit any bags in their stadiums. Boston's TD Garden allows only clutch bags.

The NFL ramped up security at the draft in late April, its one major event since the Boston Marathon bombings. In a statement Thursday, the league said:

"We had been discussing a new approach to bag restrictions before the Boston Marathon incident. We have come up with a way to do it that will actually make access more convenient for fans than it has been. We think the fans will embrace and appreciate it."

Stadium workers and media will continue to enter NFL stadiums through designated gates where they will be subject to screening and bag inspections.

6 Comments on this post:

By: PKVol on 6/17/13 at 7:30

The Boston Bombers won.

In this age where the fan experience at home is better than the fan experience at the game, further restrictions for fans paying the money to attend the games is going to drive more fans away.

For the cost of my 2 season tickets, I could pay for a very nice television and theater system, not have to worry about bringing sunscreen or a rain poncho, not have to pay to park and sit in traffic, not have to worry about some drunk falling on me again. At some point, it will end, I just have to decide when.

By: grid on 6/17/13 at 8:20

I agree, PKVol. I'd love to see statistics on game attendance after the season; wouldn't be surprised in a drop.

By: 742180 on 6/17/13 at 9:02

Unbelieveable!!! This has got to be the dumbest most short sighted decision I could ever imagine. I can't think of a single PSL holding friend, and I know many, who are excited about the 'state of going to an NFL game'. At some point ALL discussions come around to 'why we are holding onto our PSL's'?. This policy doesn't exactly heighten the game experience.

WHAT ARE THEY THINKING????

PKVol from the way I read it you would not be able to carry a poncho and sunscreen. .....just come to the game fry in the sun, drench in the rain, pay 8 for a beer, and enjoy the pleasures of the crowd, Priceless!!! Can't wait!!!

By: SirKnight on 6/17/13 at 2:01

Way to go off into the deep end, 742180. A poncho would easily fit into a one-gallon ziploc bag (unless you're wearing it, then there's no problem). Just how MUCH sunscreen does one person need? If you need more than a gallon of it for the game, then maybe you SHOULD stay home and never come outside ever again.

In the fifteen years I've gone to games, I've never once brought in more than I was wearing other than a camera. Why on earth is this such a big deal??

By: 4gold on 6/18/13 at 8:03

Doesnt bother me. I travel light anyway. Who wants to lug all that stuff around. PK leave your lip stick and eye liner at home and put the sunscreen on before you leave. Why lug it to the stadium? My poncho came in a little mesh carry bag the size of a sandwich bag. Easy to comply and better than getting your legs blown off by some idiot malcontent. That said it is still more comfortable at home. The only reason to attend in person is to soak up some atmosphere of excitement we had in the early Titan years. Not much that to be had in about a decade now.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: courier37027 on 6/18/13 at 6:23

Staying home is better than going to stadium and sitting near drunk Flamehead fan, or obnoxious trailer trash fan.