Update at 11:52 PM ET
The traffic was horrendous leading up to the game, and it wasn't any better afterward as ESPN's Julian Gompertz shows us:
Amy Rosenberg of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweeted a picture of what the NFL's response was in the stadium:
With many NFL fans utilizing public transit to get to Super Bowl XLVIII at East Rutherford's MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 2, several individuals reportedly collapsed amid the massive crowds in Secaucus Junction Station.
The Associated Press' Rachel Cohen reported the news hours before kickoff of the epic showdown featuring the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos, noting that emergency workers had to sift through the swarm of people to come to the fallen fans' aid.
Security checks to ensure safety contributed to the delays.
ESPN's Darren Rovell and Sports Illustrated's Adam Duerson offered estimates of just how long the hordes of people were waiting to move forward:
Lines up to an hour and a half at Secaucus train station to get to Super Bowl pic.twitter.com/FlsQNiUrs5— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) February 2, 2014
WFAN New York Jets reporter Chris Lopresti also shared his perspective:
Thousands of people were crammed into one corridor like sardines. I'm told multiple people passed out from the heat. Nightmare situation.— Chris Lopresti (@CLoprestiWFAN) February 2, 2014
Many game attendees planned ahead for potential transit nightmares by arriving unusually early for the grand finale, per NFL PR official Brian McCarthy:
earliest arriving Super Bowl crowd in at least 30 years. 80k fans through security by 5:15p. #Sb48— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) February 2, 2014
New York Giants CEO John Mara felt the transit could present a problem, reports Judy Battista of NFL.com, but he was unsure of a viable alternative:
Mara was just hearing about transit issues, but said he could not think of anything he would do differently.— Judy Battista (@judybattista) February 2, 2014
No one could have prepared for the calamity that caused several to collapse, however.
Emergency workers attempting to maneuver through the crowds had a difficult job, considering the lines of NFL supporters seeking entry to the game didn't move for as long as 30 minutes. Tampa Bay Lightning employee Patrick Abts captured the scene and noted the duration of his delay:
This mass hasn't moved for over 30 minutes and THEY HAVE THE HEAT ON. pic.twitter.com/0CLcnejuXF— Patrick Abts (@Pat_Abts) February 2, 2014
New Jersey Transit officials ensured that all efforts were being made to attend to those in need and to expedite the process of getting to the stadium safely:
@mmdoak We're aware of situation-paramedics getting water to those in need of medical attn. We're loading trains quickly&safely as possible— NJ TRANSIT (@NJTRANSIT) February 2, 2014
Mara already spoke of bringing the game back to East Rutherford in a recent ESPN Radio interview, per CBSSports.com's Will Brinson:
Based on everything that's happened so far, yes. If we can be assured that we'd get the same cooperation from all the different government entities that were involved, which has been tremendous so far, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't consider doing it again.
With this particular Super Bowl venue, public transportation turned out to be a logistical nightmare, which may be a setback for MetLife Stadium to host the Lombardi Trophy battle again.
This unfortunate development puts an early damper on the Super Bowl for those who suffered just trying to get to experience the spectacular atmosphere in person. Hopefully everyone impacted has a full and speedy recovery.