The 10th anniversary of 9/11 also marked the 10th anniversary of the NFL taking security at its stadiums much more seriously. Fans attending NFL games have become accustomed to the procedure of getting in lines and being patted down. The initial implementation of the security procedures resulted in delays outside stadiums, but, as fans got used to the process, they adjusted accordingly – realizing that, if they want to see the start of the game, they would have to enter the stadium a few minutes earlier.
Just as the largely forgotten shoe bomber made airlines aware that explosives could be detonated in shoes resulted in air travelers putting their shoes in buckets as they go through airport security, a pair of recent examples of fan violence has heightened security inside and outside of stadiums.
In a preseason game between the Raiders and the 49ers, a Bay Area brawl broke out in the stadium that heightened the need for more security to break up similar fights. But an incident Sunday night at the Meadowlands sent shock waves through those in charge of protecting fans. Leroy McKelvey, 59, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault and two weapons charges after being involved in a dust-up between fans in Cowboys gear and Jets gear. He is charged with pulling out a Taser and using it on one of the other people in the fight. He allegedly got the Taser into the stadium with an ankle holster.
As a result, when fans head into stadiums on Sunday, the customary pat search which was from waist up, will now extend all the way to the ground. The extension of the pat searches will add to the time it takes to complete seraches, so fans may want to be forewarned – whether they're entering the Metrodome Sunday or any of the 15 other stadiums hosting games. If you plan to tailgate and cut it tight to get inside, you might miss Percy Harvin attempting to become the first player to score touchdowns on the opening kickoff two straight games.
You've been warned.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.