MINNEAPOLIS — NFL security and Minneapolis police have thrown a bucket of Minnesota ice on any Eagles fan dreams of a Philly-style tailgate outside the Super Bowl.
Maybe try for a tailgate at the Mall of America, offered NFL security chief Cathy Lanier after a security briefing here Wednesday. Then get prescreened and board a light rail that will deposit you, sans ribs, brats, and alcohol, inside the security perimeter of U.S. Bank Stadium.
“I know they’ve got great milkshakes there,” she said.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said simply, “No.”
“This will be a very contained, secured perimeter area,” he said. “So the traditional Philly tailgate, unfortunately, unless they do it by the hotels, we don’t see any. And that’s for the Patriots fans, too. There’s just going to be so much going on in front of U.S. Bank Stadium.”
Ouch. As if the single-digit temperatures predicted for game day were not unfriendly enough. No flames for cooking or any other reason allowed in the parking lots, no alcohol inside the perimeter, and streets all around will be closed off, officials said. Public transit in the area will be restricted to ticket-holders on game day. Plan to arrive early, tailgate-free.
Arrandondo said he was not concerned about reports of unruly Eagles fans in the NFC championship game against the Vikings, in which beers were thrown as some visitors walked through a phalanx of Philly tailgaters outside the Linc. He said he did not anticipate any attempt at pole climbing or other postgame reaction.
But Philly’s reputation for mayhem has definitely preceded the arrival of most fans.
“Is it true you have a court below the stadium, and a judge?” asked one wide-eyed patrol officer in Minneapolis. (We did.)
In Minneapolis, they’ll take any problem fans a few blocks away to “Detox,” said the chief. There’s a holding cell at the stadium, but no other law enforcement facilities.
Crisco jokes were as easy to find in Minneapolis as in Philly.
“Any Crisco in your bag?” one police officer at a security checkpoint asked a Philadelphia media member, adding (in jest) that police have the stuff that famously greased Philly poles, in anticipation of fan celebration, “on order. Pallets of it. Got it from Costco.”
Easy, buddy. Even Philadelphia police are swearing off the stuff this week.
Lanier led a security briefing that covered issues much more serious than tailgating, such as monitoring terrorism-recruitment networks, human trafficking, counterfeit scams, and other issues associated with staging a large-scale event. She said she had faith in Philly and Boston fans, as well as their Viking hosts, bitter though they remain.
She said she envisioned “fans of both sides congratulating each other as they walk through that skywalk,” hopefully hours before the start of the event, to avoid lines and a rush just before game time. She really stressed that people should pregame/prescreen at the Mall, then hop the express to the stadium.
Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, said the Super Bowl experience will not allow for a tailgate, let alone the marathon tailgate experience of Eagles fans. “No flames, one spot per customer,” he said. “This stadium, there’s not much tailgating in regular-season games. It’s a different set-up.”
Arradondo said his department was doing nothing different to anticipate any Philly-style reaction after the game.
“Nooo. Not at all, Crisco, and none of that,” he said when asked about preparing for any fan celebration throughout Minneapolis, as was seen in Philadelphia after the win against the Vikings.
“Our security apparatus is in place. It’s very robust and intentional,” he said, adding, “I think Philadelphia fans are great.”