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Jubilant fans fill MetLife stadium for Super Bowl

February 3, 2014
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Jubilant fans sporting the team colors of Denver and Seattle streamed into MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl on a mild winter evening Sunday, the mood upbeat despite long lines and intense security procedures.

More than 27,000 people crammed onto New Jersey Transit's trains, setting a ridership record that easily surpassed the previous mark of 22,000 in 2009 for a U2 concert. New Jersey State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes said there had been a few minor incidents by mid-afternoon, but that operations had gone smoothly. The weather cooperated, too, with the temperature at kickoff hitting 49 degrees for the first Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium in a cold-weather city.

Jake Anderson, 22, a college senior at the University of Northern Colorado, was wearing a Peyton Manning jersey and a Super Bowl hat. He said he had an accounting test on Thursday he hadn't studied for and didn't expect to pass.

"This is going to be worth the F I get on Thursday," he said. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. You have to drop everything and do it."

The only minor disruption for commuting fans came at Secaucus Junction, the start of NJ Transit's 6.8-mile line to the stadium in East Rutherford, where they had to pass through a security checkpoint manned by TSA agents.

Emergency medical personnel told The Associated Press that they had to treat several people who collapsed when the station became overcrowded. Lines began moving again after a little more than an hour of delays.

"It was kind of a bottleneck," NJ Transit spokesman William Smith said. "A number of trains arrived at once."

Some trains were then held back at Penn Station to ease the traffic flow, Smith said.

Andy Weinstein, who works for a bottling company in Seattle, was wearing a bright neon green costume with a Seahawks jersey over it.

"I feel like if I'm flying cross-country for this, I might as well look ridiculous," he said. "I'm wearing this for this game, for my team."

From sharpshooters on top of buildings to boats patrolling the rivers around the stadium, roughly 100 agencies are involved in handling security in some way for the first Super Bowl held in the New York-New Jersey area.

Fans were only allowed to carry a small clutch bag or purse that's no bigger than 6.5 by 4.5 inches and a clear plastic bag that's about as big as a freezer storage bag, per the NFL's bag policy. Fans also had to go through metal detectors and regular security at the stadium, as well.

Dozens of bomb-sniffing dogs were checking cars as they entered the complex and sniffing bags of credentialed media members.

David Bevens, Jr., 39, of Seattle, a longshoreman draped in Seahawks blue, was sweating as he stood in the Secaucus station after leaving the train. He said his train sat in Penn Station for half an hour before it started moving.

But he wasn't letting that ruin his day.

"Just being here feels good," Bevens said with a smile. "And as long as I make it to the game on time, I'll be happy as a clam."

At New York City's Penn Station, dozens of volunteers wearing gold jackets guided fans to Super Bowl-bound trains.

"Fans from the two teams are talking to each other, discussing the game. There's no animosity," said Joe Roscoe, who was selling merchandise from both teams in the middle of the concourse at Penn Station. "These fans are real nice to each other, they get along, they're good-natured. There's none of this in-your-face stuff."

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Associated Press writers Verena Dobnik and Jake Pearson contributed to this report.

 
 

 

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