Vote: Agree with NFL's head-to-toe pat-downs this season?
Sep 16, 2011
USA TODAY's Game On! broke the news Thursday that the NFL wants head-to-toe searches for all fans this year to improve safety inside stadiums.
HEAD-TO-TOE: NFL wants all 16 million fans frisked from ankles upThe stricter physical screenings could be reassuring to fans worried about safety -- especially after Sunday's stun gun incident at a Jets-Cowboys game. Others are likely to regard it as an invasion of privacy.
The NFL wants all fans patted down from the ankles up this season to improve fan safety.
Under the new "enhanced" pat-down procedures, the NFL wants all 32 clubs to search fans from the ankles to the knees as well as the waist up. Previously, security guards only patted down fans from the waist up while looking for booze, weapons or other banned items.
The stricter physical screening policy impacts the 16.6 million fans expected to attend live regular season NFL games this season. The more thorough searches will spell longer lines for ticket-holding fans seeking entry to games. It's sure to raise the ire of some fans who consider it an invasion of privacy.
The NFL recommended the new guidelines before the kickoff of the 2011 season which coincided with the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The league hopes fans will be "patient," says spokesman Brian McCarthy, and arrive earlier to games to avoid long, punishing lines.
"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 stun gun on other fans at a New York Jets-Dallas Cowboys game Sunday night.
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