A Super Debacle

It'll be freezing. It may be snowing. New York will be in gridlock for a week. Oh, and now there's no tailgating. Super Bowl 48 seems poised to set a new standard for the No Fun League. At this point, is it worth anyone going?

Is this the scene at Super Bowl 44? No, but it might not be far off. (Mike Roemer/AP)
Is this the scene at Super Bowl 48? No, but it might not be far off. (Mike Roemer/AP)

While we still were all happily replaying the snowy and zany events of Week 14 in our heads, the 11th commandment was handed down from on high early this week, and at first glance, it sounds just as iron-clad and restrictive as the original 10, and possibly more consequential if violated:

“Thou shalt not tailgate at this year’s Super Bowl in New Jersey—not even a little bit. Thus saith the Super Bowl XLVIII host committee.”

And just to prove they really mean it when they say absolutely no wieners on the grill or space-eating games of cornhole at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, here’s the money quote from the committee’s CEO Al Kelly, who apparently issued the following comments with a straight face:

“You will be allowed to have food in your car and have drink in your car. And provided you’re in the boundaries of a single parking space, you’ll be able to eat or drink right next to your car. However, you’re not going to be able take out a lounge chair, you’re not going to be able to take out a grill, and you’re not going to be able to take up more than one parking space. And it’ll all be watched very carefully.”

In other words, a lot more carefully than referee Jeff Triplette watched that replay review of the BenJarvus Green-Ellis touchdown in Cincinnati last week. Consider yourself warned.

Call me crazy, but when you tell football fans that they can tailgate as long as they don’t use a grill or lounge chairs, and agree to keep at least one body part in contact with their car, truck or igloo-on-wheels at all times, you’ve kind of gutted the essence of the whole tailgating experience.

You must stay within the boundaries of a single parking space with your food and drink? For a league that has its hands full just keeping Mike Tomlin off the field during a game, this sounds like someone is biting off more than they can chew. Or police. Will there really be parking-space monitors patrolling the MetLife lots? Lord help us if there are Eagles or Raiders fans on the premises. I know from personal experience you don’t really want to tangle with those people when they get their tailgating groove on. Your car may be the one to suffer.

Look, I get that space will be limited on Super Bowl Sunday in the Meadowlands. But just when you thought this game couldn’t take itself more seriously than it already did—see the continued use of Roman numerals, even though everything past Super Bowl V has been way too confusing—we get the anti-tailgating edict, relayed as if there will be hell to pay if a Hibachi gets smuggled onto the holy parking grounds of MetLife.

I’m not even sure why anyone would really want to stand outside longer than they have to on game day of this year’s first cold-weather, in-the-elements Super Bowl, unless it’s a frost-bite contest for charity they signed up for. But I’m pretty sure tailgating is one of our protected constitutional rights, alongside free speech and being able to cut off your fellow drivers in traffic. And you just don’t take that away lightly and expect no uprising. Don’t be surprised if a new grassroots political movement—the Brat Party?—comes forth out of this.

(Ric Tapia/Icon SMI)
(Ric Tapia/Icon SMI)

And it’s not just the rule against tailgating that threatens to make this the most restrictive Super Bowl ever. The Super Bowl host committee outlined the game-day transportation options, and it’s not going to be easy to even get to the game. Even if you’re one of the beautiful people who are famous enough to land tickets and rent a limo as your ride, you’re not going to be allowed to just roll up to MetLife and be escorted to the luxury box elevator.

Because of the large security perimeter needed for the game, there will be no taxi, limo or black car service drop-off points. You will have to possess one of the fewer than 13,000 parking passes in order to enter the lots, and with more than 80,000 fans expected to attend, that means the real scalping market will be for those coveted parking spots. Forget the game tickets. How do I score two passes in the M lot?

This is going to render a lot of VIPs quite SOL. The host committee is pushing either the area’s established mass transit to the game, or telling fans they can pay $51 to ride buses called the Fan Express, which will pick up and drop off at nine different metro locations. But I don’t really see Justin Timberlake going that route.

In New York City, where the black-car service is a staple of the local economy, this is the horror of all horror stories. What good is wealth and status if you can’t flaunt it at the Super Bowl?

“Nobody’s going to be dropped off by black car,” Kelly said, back into Grinch mode. “You can have a black car, a green car, a white car, a red car as long as you have parking, and the car needs to stay on the premises the entire time.”

Umm, the league does want fans at the Super Bowl, right? That’s part of the stadium effect for TV purposes—butts in the seats. But what if they held the game and nobody came? I’m thinking even if the NFL gets the balmy early February weather of its dreams, attending this year’s festivities may not be worth the trouble. Is the league determined to turn the first wintry Super Bowl into a logistical nightmare of an event to navigate? I mean, no brats, no beer, no town cars? What else could the NFL possibly restrict?

Oh, there is one more thing to remember on Super Sunday: Don’t forget, no over-sized bags allowed in the stadium. You can bring your personal items in, but they have to be in a clear, see-through bag or a small hand-held purse that’s roughly big enough to fit a sandwich. But you’re really better off just eating that in the car.

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81 comments
DrewS
DrewS

I am hoping, no I am praying that this Super Bowl is a disaster for fans who attend. I want brutally cold weather as fans stand in line waiting hours to clear security. Remember when the Super Bowl was fun for fans to attend. Watch the movie Black Sunday. Not for the attempted terrorist act at the end of the movie but the actual footage of fans outside tailgating. The game was Pittsburgh/Dallas at the old Orange Bowl. Back then the game was affordable with real fans not the corporate high rollers who now attend. Metlife is a depressing stadium surrounded by swampland. It's not in New York. Now if only Mother Nature can come through with an ice storm.

TheBlackQB
TheBlackQB

This sounds like a good ol' fashion... CFL game. #GreyCup. I've been saying all yr that this game would achieve all new SB lows in interest and execution. Now add silly squashing of tradition (tailgating), and now logistics? The best part might be the Lingerie Bowl. Ooops, I meant Legends Cup. Do they still do that half time?

DennyCrane
DennyCrane

“Nobody’s going to be dropped off by black car,” Kelly said

=================================================

What Kelly means is that none of the little people who maybe are treating this as a trip of a lifetime with a  suite at the hotel and a limo to the game all purchased on the Capitol One card and repaid through the years on a high interest rate.


But a Timberlake or a Springsteen will be treated with the status that such a national treasure deserves. Kelly doesn't have to say that because it's just understood among that ilk.

SuperBowlSteve
SuperBowlSteve

I was fortunate enough to attend 21 SB games between XVII and XXXIX (yes, I missed one). I watched ticket price face values climb from $25 (upper deck, Rose Bowl, 1983) to $550 (lower section, Jacksonville, 2005.) In 1983, at my first game, we were waiting in line to go in, standing behind four beautiful people in full-length fur coats. My father asked if I knew who they were. I did not. He didn't know who the two blondes were, but the two guys were O.J. Simpson and Marcus Allen. You can guess who the girls were.

I watched two gentlemen in front of me in the SuperDome at SB XXXI trade dollar bills as they bet on each play. I saw folks enter the game deep in the second quarter only to leave at halftime and not return. I saw empty seats in NOLA for SB XXXVI, because no one wanted to fly five months after 9/11. I've seen pre-game and halftime shows from Up With People, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Styx, Sting, U2, Britney Spears, Aerosmith and many, many more.

I listened as Sam Huff, sitting in front of me at SB XXX in Tempe, called a fake punt before the snap. After bumping Harry Carson in the knee early in the first quarter, while trying to sip my $8 beer in San Diego for SB XXII, I asked him who he picked to win? Mr. Carson's one word reply: Giants. I kept my elbows to myself for the rest of the game. I could go on..

My point is, this NY (okay, NJ) SB was an 'award' or gift from the NFL to NYC for the tragedy of 9/11. It won't happen again. All but one of the games I attended were in "warm-weather" sites, though I could argue that Jacksonville was not remotely warm in 2005 and Atlanta had an ice storm for the ages in 2000. The exception was SB XXVI in Minneapolis, which touted a 2-mile long 2nd storey enclosed walkway that allowed us to park in a hotel, leave our coats in the car and visit both the Redskins and Bills pep rallies in different buildings in total comfort, while it was 11 degrees outside. We also got in to the inaugural "NFL Experience" for free the day afer the game. Over those 20+ years I watched as the attendees became more corporate and less true fans; prices for everything from tickets to programs to hotel rooms to hot dogs reached astronomical levels. Parking became more restricted. We waited 45 minutes to go through security in NOLA in 2002, in a cold, damp, low 40's day. It wasn't much better at any game after that. Tailgating? It was great in Tempe in '96, but it was also nice in Jacksonville in '05, though it was cool outside. For me, NOLA and San Diego are the best towns for SB's, hands down.

These days, it is undoubtedly a better experience watching from home.

http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/history

Jon8
Jon8

I just put my tickets on the exchange for sale!

robobrien21
robobrien21

It hasn't been 'worth it' to go to the Superbowl since the mid-1970's. Inflated air-fare, inflated hotel/motel room rates, grossly overpriced tickets,.... Only a moron would put up with the crap involved in attending a Super bowl  game.

DavidHart
DavidHart

As a Seahawk fan living in the mid-west, I am faced with making a decision:  going to New Jersey to see the game in person, or heading back to Seattle.  I am forced into thinking that going to Seattle and enjoying the game with friends and fellow Seahawk fans would be far better and a much more enjoyable experience than 4 hours in a stadium that will cost me an arm and a leg to enter, not to mention transportation and food while there.  Hopefully, this might be the beginning of a strong Seahawks run for many years....the next two Super Bowls will be in Glendale, Arizona and Santa Clara, California.  Maybe I will wait until then to attend.

NebojsaTodorovic
NebojsaTodorovic

I will bet anybody $100 that celebrities will be able to roll up in a limo all day long.  Maybe they are hired limo's by the league or the venue, but there will be exclusions outside of this edict and we all know it.  That is what makes this such a farce.

wideout3485
wideout3485

I know it's private property but can you imagine someone drinking in their car with it on b/c it's cold and being arrested for open intox?

Mag533
Mag533

...and the NFL continues to put on crappy, no talent half time shows to show off to the world America's decadence.  Of course, there will be no tribute or nod to America's greatness and values - just trash - maybe that is now our values.  how about some good old America country music?

rentistoohigh
rentistoohigh

The Football fantasy:


Mikey Bloomberg's boys yearn for the good old days back when youth obeyed societal rules and knew their place...Wall Street did what they wanted and called it "god's work"...the "greatest generation was the congregation and New York sports was the church. An outdoor revival to remind us all of the horrors of great war...the subjugation of masses and FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS. 

     Not entirely bad BTW....anybody stupid enough to blow that kind of money either didn't really earn it or fulfills the idea that a fool and their money soon part ways. EFF IT !!! tailgate on you couch at home...be smart...get the message ....

oldguy68
oldguy68

I totally could not afford it, but even if I could I'd rather attend a good D III football game than the super bowl. I actually thought this year could be more fun BECAUSE of the potential for bad weather. (I still remember Green Bay-Dallas in the ice bowl.) The message I get from this is "too much money = too little fun"

UleNotknow
UleNotknow

"You will be allowed to have food in your car and have drink in your car." Oh, thankee very much Massah, Suh. How kind y'are.

JohnnyNacho
JohnnyNacho

Funny how money talks and BS walks w/ how New York got this outdoor Super Bowl for building a new stadium.  It'll be a disaster, the show will go on no doubt but a disaster when all said and done.

btcvsolo
btcvsolo

This is a social event, not a sporting event. I've been to 2 Super Bowls....you go for the parties, NOT the game. Football live sucks. At least at a baseball or hockey game, you can actually SEE what's happening. At a football game, it's a bunch of tiny things going this way & a bunch of tiny things going that way. 


Then your buzz wears off & you wonder what the hell am I doing here? Far better to be in the comfort of your own (or a friend's) home so you can SEE the game, enjoy the commercials, ignore the loony halftime show, smoke whatever indoors, and drink til you can't feel feelings anymore...


Anyhoo....this SB has debacle written all over it....unless it is a cool, crisp day with clear skies so the glitterati can show off their minks, I'd wager they won't do anymore cold weather stadiums.


Fun trivia: more toilets are flushed during a Super Bowl halftime than at any other time of the year.


Enjoy! 

nonemoreblak
nonemoreblak

this super bowl is happening for a couple reasons: mara, tisch, and woody have dents in their wallets due to the stadium. chris christie is gov. of jersey, your front runner 2016 republican pres. hopeful. it will never happen again

RCH
RCH

I would like to clear up one on misconception based on my experience last year.


I live in New Orleans and while I did not go to the game, I attended a large tailgate party close by the Super Dome and gauging by what I saw there were thousands of what you would call your average Joe fan. It was mostly a pro Ravens crowd but these fans were on foot walking to the game by the thousands. 


Now having roughly 40,000 hotel rooms within a mile of the stadium makes it easy for the average Joe to attend in New Orleans and I have no idea of the logistics of MetLife, but I think there are many more of your true team fans in attendance than you think. 



WertheimJ
WertheimJ

My interpretation of this edict is that when two tickets to the event cost thousands of dollars, most people driving to the event (those that scored a parking pass to begin with) aren't going to be the type that roll out the lounge chairs and grills to begin with. New York isn't exactly Green Bay, and with the 2 local teams out of playoff contention, most local people (except the wealthy) will not be at the game. Hence, the no tailgating rule is superfluous. That said, what will the penalty be for someone who violates the rule? They gonna tow your car, confiscate your barbecue, or take away your tickets? No mention of that in the article.

badgernation74
badgernation74

Talk about micromanaging the fun out of the game that made the NFL our national pastime. Wellington Mara would be ashamed that his team's stadium is being used to drive real fans away from the Super Bowl. He did more to make the NFL what it is today than anyone. He put the good of the game and competitive balance ahead of his own financial interests. He knew that when everyone has a stake and enjoys the experience, it grows bigger and better for everyone.

Morvandium
Morvandium

This is such bull spit.  Seriously, NO FUN LEAGUE.


And the bag size restrictions are MORONIC.  My coat has more storage space in it than the bags that they're allowing people to bring in.  How does it make sense that I can carry more in using any one of the 5 coat pockets that I have than a woman could carry in using a clear plastic bag.  (I use woman here because I hear that dresses usually don't have pockets -- I'm not meaning to exclude any men or transgender individuals who choose to wear dresses too.)


The NFL is one of the most profitable legal monopolies in the world.  This is about greed pure and simple.  It's nice that it is broadcast on TV, but this is just shameful greed.


Removing tailgating is about profit -- restrictions to make it "safer" so vehicles could get through could be accomplished with less draconian methods.  This seriously is detracting from American culture.  I have heard plenty of European friends (and fellow Americans) talk about how the US is largely a cultural wasteland in the face of our pursuit of science and capitalism, and some of their points I see, and some I disagree with.  The ritual of tailgating is a part of our culture, and removing it is like publicly urinating on a piece of the American soul.

JohnRoethel
JohnRoethel

I bet the Commissioner and the team owners get to use a limo.

ucla2k3
ucla2k3

This pretty much ensures that next year's Super Bowl will be the first and last one at MetLife Stadium. I bet members of the other host committees, especially the ones along the Sun Belt, are still rolling on the floor laughing at Al Kelly and how stupid he and his people are. Bad enough that they may have to play in the snow. But no taxis or limos? And you expect Fortune 500 executives to ride a public bus? I want to see the shouting match that's gonna happen on game day. If I had the money, I'd take a helicopter and have it land right at the entrance of MetLife Stadium. No policy against helicopter arrivals right? Just no taxis and limos.

ChadMKuhns
ChadMKuhns

It has nothing to do with safety, travel logistics, or trying to be conscious of space, it's about money plan and simple. No tail gating in the hopes that it will drive up food and beverage sales for the 80,000 that have been sitting in their vehicle holding cells until they are allowed in to the stadium. 51.00 bus rides to ensure that they are capitalizing on that aspect of profit, making sure that they cram as many people in as possible at a ridiculous fee just to push money in to the city's hands, as if it needs it. Don't worry about those clear plastic bags though, if you get flagged at the doors, i'm sure they'll be kind enough to point you in a direction to where you can buy one for an insanely over priced fee. 


These host committees should be concerned with making sure the venue is ready, and that the logistics are all worked out. Nothing more..nothing less. The NFL should be ashamed to put their fans through that kind of ridiculous run around and restrictions. I don't care who wins, at the end of the day, it's about the fans..there is no NFL without them. Shameful. 

PatrickShannon
PatrickShannon

Okay lets be clear about what kind of people attend super bowls. They want to get in and enjoy the entertainment inside. You'll see wealthy families with tickets around their necks. Business types that don't really care if they go or not just in attendance because the tickets worth $2500 they got from their job. No one cares about a hot dog before they go into one of the most expensive events of their life. 

DanLeeper
DanLeeper

Let's see if I get this, no or little parking, no taxis or limmo's to the game , no tailgating, frozen temperatures and TSA style Nazi's at the gate for my safety,.......sounds fun.  

DanLeeper
DanLeeper

Yea that's what we need the TSA to strip search us at the frozen Super bowl. It's for your safety. What a bunch of BS. I spent 20 years in the USMC to be treated like this???? PACK SAND!!

Craig
Craig

Gee, sounds like they could get off-duty TSA folks to monitor the lines.  They could just use the same rules.  3-1-1 would work, and we certainly don't want things like skittles or a Snickers bar to make it in.  You can buy those inside...for $14.00 plus tax.

JetSetter
JetSetter

Hello! This is what they're doing all over America. In the name of Freedom, Soon you will find more and more homes inside the security perimeter. You'll be able to eat your sandwich inside your home. Scary times. Your tax dollars at work.

ronmartinrealdude
ronmartinrealdude

I like football, but I gave up on professional football over a decade ago. I attend a Super Bowl Party every year, but I don't really watch the game. Sunday afternoon football puts me right to sleep.


But I do watch college and high school football. I go to the Orange Bowl every year, even thought its usually a crappy game. 


Pro football? No, thanks. I am not even really sure why I don't care for it any more. It is just...boring.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

I have long wondered who the losers are that waste their time and money attending the Super Bowl. It is a freaking football game. For the face value of a pair of tickets I could go to Florida for a week. Include hotels and airfare and I and the wife could go to Paris for a couple weeks.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Who's the halftime entertainment, Mr. Freeze?

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Didn't Dr. Seuss design a car that expanded straight up, then opened up with a platform? If not, someone should invent one in the next few weeks.

esgalan2
esgalan2

Newsflash for americans : you can actually go somewhere, be someone, have fun together WITHOUT a bloody car !!

A parking lot is the sorriest, ugliest place you can imagine : enjoy football at home with your friends or in bars and restaurants !

BklynBoy
BklynBoy

@DavidHart Heres a tip if you do go and if the seahawks make it, stay in downtown Bklyn or  LIC Queens it will most likely be alot cheaper. And whatever you do not stay in Nj unless you want to get mugged and get stuck in crappy motel for a thousand dollars a night.  If you stay in Downtown Bk 20 25mins max from Atlantic Ave,Nevins, Metrotech, Bourogh Hall etc to Grand Central where you can get a fan express. And its about the same to Times Square via the 7 train from LIC 

GrahamHaworth
GrahamHaworth

@DavidHart As with every other Seahawks fan on the planet, you're getting a little ahead of yourself. You do know you have to win a couple of playoff games in order to play in the Super Bowl, right? And in the past decade, only two #1 seeds have gone on to win the Super Bowl. Time to slow your roll a little.

Translucent
Translucent

@Mag533 Why do you believe that your preferred music is more culturally worthy than someone else's? Are freedom and diversity and the right to pursue whatever musical happiness you choose not American values?

JasonRivas
JasonRivas

Because country music SUCKS. That's why.

NebojsaTodorovic
NebojsaTodorovic

And you can stand near your car if you remain within your parking space.  You will be imprisoned for any Mike Tomlin shenanigans.

robobrien21
robobrien21

@nonemoreblak , I think that Mara, Tisch and Woody 'repaired the dents in their wallets through imposing ridiculous PSL's, that a lot of fans were stupid enough to pay. now it's the fans who have dented wallets.

anon76
anon76

@RCH


Unmentioned in the article- they're also not letting fans walk to the game.

badgernation74
badgernation74

@Morvandium Dude, I bet you just triggered an emergency meeting about restricting the size and number of pockets allowed on jackets worn to the stadium.

WertheimJ
WertheimJ

@JohnRoethel And the players and coaches will fly in by helicopter and land at the 50-yard line.

Harden Long
Harden Long

@WilyCoyoteSuperGenius I went to the Super Bowl and it was an unforgettable and unbelievable once in MY lifetime experience. I wouldn't trade that for Paris or even Florida.

badgernation74
badgernation74

@WilyCoyoteSuperGenius  I have long wondered what kind of losers use phrases like "I and the wife." Look, to some people a week in Florida or a trip to Paris is a huge waste of money. Buying tickets to the Super Bowl doesn't make you a loser. It means you have different interests. Don't be so smug.

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