On June 13th of this year, the NFL Committee on Stadium Security released a statement through NFL.com outlining new limitations on what fans may and may not bring into NFL stadiums effective this upcoming season. Quoting directly from their .pdf release:
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, seat cushions, luggage of any kind, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
This, of course, is a blatant contradiction to their protect-the-quarterback-at-all-costs rule change(s) which mandated that defensive players may only strike the opposing quarterback (between the knees and chest) using an empty purse embroidered with league-approved NFL emblems, provided (of course) that the quarterback has been duly warned prior to said contact. We'll have to wait for Mike Pereira to clarify.
Although the NFL banned the items listed above from entering an NFL stadium, they did provide a list of some permissible carrying devices that you could use in place of the banned items:
• Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12." (Official NFL team logo clear plastic tote bags are available through club merchandise outlets or at nflshop.com), or
• One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar).
• Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap can be taken into the stadium with one of the clear plastic bag options.
A few things require clarification: what if I place my
fanny pack backpack within the clear tote? That probably wouldn't fly, but it'd be hilarious to at least try.
Secondly, whose hand are we talking about? If Kawhi Leonard is in town and he goes to a Chargers game, could he simply walk into the stadium clutching a female companion's purse for her since it would obviously be smaller than his mutant, clown hands?
The committee also states that exceptions will be made for "medically necessary items", entirely forgetting that if you let someone in with a normal bag that houses a medically necessary item, then everyone knows that person has a medical condition that warrants a medically necessary item. (Note to self: do not hit on women carrying a regular bag in the stadium; she totally has herpes or something.)
These are just a few of my concerns. See below for more detailed discussion.
Why the NFL says they're doing it
In response to all the deadly terrorist attacks at NFL stadiums over the last few years -- most notably, all the extreme feminist groups rigging their purses -- the NFL was forced to implement these new rules.
The committee states that the new policy was implemented to provide "greater safety", as well as easier and quicker entry into the stadium. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that the NFL stands to profit from it, as they are already offering the approved, NFL-embroidered clear tote bags for $11.99 at NFLShop.com.
Quoting directly from the NFL's Vice President:
"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."
Why the new rules totally suck
The rules most definitely suck for female NFL fans. I'm sure the bulk majority of female fans would gladly forego the last fifteen minutes of their tailgate in order to attain some privacy in regards to what they carry in their purse. I'm sure at least some of them will find it awkward carrying birth control, feminine hygiene products, medication(s), and what have you out in the open for anyone and everyone to plainly see. (Not all people will have a safe place to store personal belongings during the game.)
Additionally, as a wise woman has informed me, clear plastic bags are ridiculously susceptible to condensation when subjected to sunlight, and offer no insulation. That means that papers of any sort will require additional protection and any leather accessories (like a wallet) are no-gos. And unless you're either okay dealing with the gunk later or have an alternative -- pockets? -- place to store it, this effectively bans chewing gum and chap stick / lip balm. Last time I checked, by the way, skirts don't have pockets. If this rule means less skirts and sundresses at NFL games, I'm predicting more angry males and, therefore, less safety in the stadium.
If you were planning on bringing in food items that you want to keep cool, you're out of luck: no more coolers.
If you don't want to separately carry several items, like binoculars, a camera, a phone, a jacket,
a water bottle full of vodka that you put in a Pringles container, the team program, and a radio, so you're planning on bringing a backpack, you're out of luck: no more backpacks.
If you think the seats at the Q are too hot, too stiff, or otherwise uncomfortable, so you brought a seat cushion to help you enjoy the game while staying seated like the usher demanded, you're out of luck: no more seat cushions.
If you wanted to bring your computer to the game -- presumably because you're John Gennaro and how the hell else are you going to run this website if you aren't writing, editing, and commenting all of the time? -- you're out of luck (unless you're cool with having nothing to put the computer in): no more computer bags or briefcases. Note: Yes, I know: John actually prefers watching at home.
Never mind the fact that the precise location (and perhaps quantity) of money, credit cards, and other valuables are completely visible to anyone and everyone if you carry them in a clear bag.
Why the new rules are totally awesome
The rules aren't totally awesome! Did you not just read what I wrote?
Okay, so there will be some advantages to the new rules.
In theory, it should take less time to enter the stadium as there will be considerably less time spent searching bags and purses. In practive, however, the early season games will probably experience many people complaining at the gate when they're denied the ability to bring in their purse. With that in mind, the time advantage probably won't be realized until a bulk majority of stadium-goers know these are the new rules. I don't have the numbers to say when that will be, but I imagine the amount of time saved at the gate will be less than the rules committee leads on. And it wasn't like the time spent waiting in line was lost time anyway; there was nothing stopping you from consuming the rest of your beer or that last tailgate munchie while you waited in line.
Ultimately, this is about making it more difficult for a horrible human being to sneak in a bomb or weapon of some sort. Removing the need to even check bags, or at least significantly reducing the volume, should make it less likely that one sneaks through the cracks. For some fans, this will mean a marginal increase in peace of mind while attending. For all fans, you're probably a little safer. (Also, the league or the individual team would be liable for an unbelievable monetary amount if something horrific were to happen at a game. In addition to cutting costs on the number of screeners needed, teams may be able to reduce the liability / insurance costs by implementing these policies.)
The new rules are poorly thought out and will be a significant nuisance for its female fans, among others. While the threat of a massive attack at the game might be slightly diminished, was the current system really failing? And couldn't we have saved everyone the same amount of time by just having a designated gate or two to bring in bags, and designated gates for those not bringing in bags? I imagine that would solve the problem without forcing everyone to sit on hot plastic for three hours while they snicker at the girl with Gas-x in her plastic tote. Good grief, NFL.