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NFL wants pat downs from ankles up at all stadiums

September 15, 2011


The NFL is ordering all fans to be frisked from the ankles up before entering stadiums this season. The ‘enhanced’ security move will impact 16.6 million fans. Previously, security guards were instructed only to search fans from the waist up.
By Reinhold Matay, AP Photo

The NFL wants all fans patted down from the ankles up this season to improve fan safety.

Previously, security guards only patted down fans from the waist up before gaining entry to NFL stadiums. Under the new “enhanced” pat-down procedures, the NFL wants all 32 clubs to search fans from ankles to the knees as well as the waist up.

The stricter security approach impacts the 16.6 million fans expected to attend live regular season NFL games this season.

The league wanted all clubs to implement the enhanced searches for Week One of the new season, says spokesman Brian McCarthy. The NFL hopes fans will be “patient” — and arrive earlier to games to avoid lengthy delays.

“The enhanced security procedures recommended by our office before the start of the season will further increase the safety of fans but will require some additional time,” McCarthy told USA TODAY in a statement Thursday. “We encourage fans to come early, enjoy their tailgating tradition, and be patient as they enter the stadium.”

The NFL suffered damage to its family-friendly image when a South Carolina man was arrested for using an illegal taser on other fans at a New York Jets-Dallas Cowboys game Sunday night.

The NFL predicts its live gate will be equal this year to last season’s overall regular season attendance of 16,569,514.

The Buffalo Bills have announced the changes for fans attending this Sunday’s home game against the Oakland Raiders at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills’ announcement reads in part:

The Buffalo Bills will be implementing an enhanced pat-down procedure starting with this Sunday’s game and the organization wants to communicate this new process to all fans attending the game. The new procedure is a recommendation from the NFL in accordance with the league’s Best Practices policies. Specifically, the enhanced portion of the pat-down is for the area from the knees to the ankles. Bills officials have long recommended that fans arrive early to the gates and continue to do so, especially with the enhanced pat-down now part of the security measures taken at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

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