EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) - Law enforcement officials said on Wednesday they have looked at every possible contingency to prepare for the threat of crime, severe weather or attack during the Super Bowl in New Jersey, one of the largest and most-watched sporting events in the world.
More than 80,000 fans are expected to attend the February 2 football extravaganza at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, deemed to be the first mass transit Super Bowl because the stadium across the Hudson River from Manhattan is accessible by train and bus.
Another 400,000 people will be traveling to the region for surrounding events.
“We are approaching this basically from an air, land and sea concept,” said Lt. Colonel Edward Cetnar of the New Jersey State Police at a security briefing held at the stadium. “Every counter-measure that we have is going to be put into place for the game.”
More than 100 local, state and federal law agencies are working with the National Football League’s private security team to prepare for the championship game and the events leading up to it.
Some 4,000 security officers, including 3,000 private security personnel hired by the NFL, will be working on game day, said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
Over the past several months the security team has “been over every possible contingency ... all likely situations - both where crime might be afoot or whether it went off the rails,” he said.
Sniffer dogs, metal detectors, bomb units and a mobile hospital, complete with a surgery ward, will be part of the security apparatus, law enforcement said.
FBI Special Agent Aaron Ford noted that the game poses a different security situation than did the Boston Marathon, where two pressure-cooker bombs detonated at the finish line on April 15, killing three people and injuring 264 others.
“The Boston Marathon bombing was a different situation than what we have here,” Ford said. “It was an event that occurred over numerous city blocks. So it was very fluid. The Super Bowl, when you talk about game day, is one day that we have control over.”
Security will be heightened at train and subway stations in New Jersey and in New York City, and the NFL will enforce a no-bag policy.
In the event of severe weather, de-icing equipment and some 900 plows are ready to clear the field, seats, walkways and parking lots, Fuentes said.
“We are taking a real close look at the weather,” he said. “It’s not like we are going to be caught on game day because we didn’t know there was going to be ice or didn’t know there was going to be snow.”
Law enforcement and the NFL also said they were taking “double if not triple redundancy” to ensure an adequate power supply to the stadium. An electricity outage at the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans plunged the field into darkness and halted play for more than 30 minutes.
Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Gunna Dickson