Just how superbly secure is the Super Bowl? Even Katy Perry, this year’s halftime performer, could not sneak in any contraband or unlawful items in her costume, not that the 30-year-old singer and songwriter would. Perry’s entire set, including her undoubtedly spectacular getup, yet to be seen, was inspected and sent through scanners. Whether or not any air sneaks in – or out – of the footballs is another issue entirely.
Writes ABC News on Jan. 29: “The Super Bowl is supposed to be about fun and games, but law enforcement is planning for every possible security scenario. High-tech scanners are being used to search every item entering the University of Phoenix Stadium – from fixtures and food to the costume worn by halftime performer Katy Perry, customs and border protection program manager Ronald Nunn said.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent Ronal Nunn, in conjunction with Homeland Security, is overseeing security at the Phoenix, Arizona venue. “Katy Perry’s stage came in last night,” Nunn said. “We’ve got port-a-potties. We’ve got everything – food, hot dogs, hamburgers, the NFL paraphernalia, jerseys, everything” being inspected.
Thousands of police and contracted security agents will be at the ready Sunday. Officers will be carrying radiation detectors, and bomb-sniffing dogs will continue to be used throughout the weekend. Even the U.S. Army and Air Force are adding some heavy presence – a Black Hawk helicopter and F-16 fighter jets will patrol the air; approximately 30 square miles have been registered as restricted airspace.
Among the security measures discussed for Super Bowl XLIX, as you might imagine, was the whole Deflategate hullabaloo. There will be a total of 54 balls per team for the officiating crew to keep track of – nearly five times the amount used in a regular season NFL game, reports USA Today.
“The thing with the Super Bowl is during the first half, we rotate footballs in as much as possible, because then those balls are used for charity and NFL auction,” said Dean Blandino, the league’s vice president of officiating. “So that’s something that’s been in place for many years at the Super Bowl.”
Speaking of the fact the footballs will be checked and then quarantined, Blandino said: “We have them in our control, and then they’re brought to the officials’ locker room three hours before kickoff Sunday. We inspect them, we gauge them and then basically approve or disapprove of the football,” he commented, before adding: “There will be some added security just because of the environment that we’re in for this game,” a reference that would seem to refer to Deflategate.
See also: Bill Nye – Patriots ball busting backcap of Deflategate won’t fly with Nye, Science Guy
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson stressed that the added security in no way means their agency has received any “specific credible threat,” but with over 100,000 attendees heading to Arizona, an overabundance of caution is necessary. And that includes Katy Perry’s Super Bowl outfit.