Give me your festive, football-crazed and bundled masses, but leave your tailgate grills at home.
ESPN's Jane McManus reports the latest on the party front for the upcoming Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium. And it seems that fans hoping to enjoy the best soiree of the sports year will have to endure very specific rules concerning transportation and tailgating.
UPDATE: Monday, Dec. 9, at 5:17 p.m. ET
NFL senior vice president of events Frank Supovitz would like to clarify that tailgating, by his definition, is not prohibited.
Contrary 2 reports, there is no ban on TLG8ing at SBXLVIII. Just can't bring grills or take up an empty pkg space.— Frank Supovitz (@SupEvents) December 9, 2013
---End of Update---
As for tailgating, it seems that eating and drinking in your car is fine, but don't you dare think about taking out a grill or comfy lounge chair.
Super Bowl committee CEO Al Kelly explained the particulars, per McManus' report:
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 to 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.
We are just going to assume beer pong has been ruled out as well.
Perhaps it's all for the best that fans will have to stay warm in their cars. The Super Bowl, set for Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium, will presumably bring with it frigid temperatures.
The Star-Ledger's Stephen Stirling combed through decades of Farmers' Almanac reports and predicted the big game should see "mid- to upper-30s" temperatures.
If that sounds like the perfect kind of weather to bundle up and corral around a hot grill as your favorite winter sausages sizzle, too bad.
You are also out of luck if you were hoping to get creative in the transportation department. As McManus states, there will only be three ways to get to the stadium, and she isn't kidding.
Officials are prohibiting fans from walking to the game and even limiting the manner they can get dropped off at the stadium.
Fans will be able to choose from three options in getting to the game: The Fan Express is a charter service offered by the committee that costs $51 and will pick up fans at nine locations around the area. New Jersey public transportation is another encouraged route and will be the mode of transport for most. Others will drive themselves.
Kelly predicts anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of ticket holders will choose public transportation, which leaves the rest to wrestle with some very specific constraints.
First off, there will be fewer parking spaces for fans, 13,000 to be exact. While 1,600 will be reserved for buses, large swaths of the area are being withheld for security purposes.
Fans better prepare to get scanned twice, because the report states there will be security officials scanning those bound for the stadium as they leave the train station and again when they actually get to MetLife.
The most peculiar part of McManus' report is the type of cars that will be let in and constraints placed on them once they arrive.
And hiring a black car, taxi or limo won't be an option for VIPs who will spend several thousand dollars per ticket. No cars will be allowed near the stadium on Feb. 2 without parking passes, and any car that drops off a passenger will have to wait at the stadium.
"Nobody's going to be dropped off by black car," Kelly said. "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."
Kelly continued with discouragement for fans hoping to hoof it to the game: "You cannot walk to the Super Bowl. You can get your hotel to drop you off at one of the New Jersey Transit locations or get the shuttle to take you to a Fan Express location, but you cannot walk."
So we go back to McManus' earlier claim that there are only three ways to get to the Super Bowl. Forget wiggle room with that sentiment, because officials are stringent on the no walking or taxi-taking rule.
It seems odd that the committee would go to such measures, but then you consider a reported 80,000 fans that will be meandering about the stadium.
Eliminating tailgating might help in curbing traffic for cars that actually get a parking pass, and it goes a long way to stave off any mischief that comes when fans and alcohol mix.
As for the very specific ways fans can choose to get to the game, perhaps a very cold and crowded day at MetLife will be more orderly this way.
Instead of thousands of fans entering the fray in myriad ways, they will be corralled by one of three sanctioned options.
Firing up the grill and hosting a party at home is sounding better all the time.
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