Prepare For a Patdown at the Superbowl

The Superbowl in New Orleans is being called a National Special Security Event. That means the Secret Service will oversee the operation and security will be very tight in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The extra safety measures are being taken to protect the 65-thousand fans who will fill the Superdome for Sunday's game. A no-fly zone has been established near the Superdome and fences and barricades have been set up around the facility. Also, all fans, vendors, media and VIP's will be subject to thorough searches.

Security will so tight that the limousines that normally overtake a Super Bowl city, shuttling the celebrities and big spenders to and fro, will be parked on Super Sunday. That includes the guy who is throwing the party. ``No one drives up to the game,'' said NFL vice president Jim Steeg. ``Paul Tagliabue is walking. If the commissioner is walking, everybody's walking.''

This is 9th time in the 36 year history of the Super Bowl, the city of New Orleans is hosting the big game. And for the first time in Super Bowl history that security is at a premium. Media from all over the world are beginning to converge in the Crescent City. They, along with New Orleans residents and tourists will witness strict security procedures in and around the Superdome. Fences are being erected around the huge sports facility. Infact, there will be no public on-site parking inside the Superdome. Roads leading to those area's are closed and blocked off.

These are just a few extra measures being taken to protect the fans who will fill the Superdome for Sunday's game between the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams. NFL security director Milt Ahlerich is suggesting fans get to the stadium several hours early. Fans, vendors, media and VIPs will all be subject to thorough searches that could include X-ray machines, metal detectors and pat-downs. ``This will be a secure event, a safe event,'' said Ahlerich, a former FBI agent. ``Everything is being taken into consideration.''

On Jan. 1, the city went through something of a practice run when the Sugar Bowl was played. Ahlerich said that game went off without a hitch. ``It's a unique job in that we're putting in all this work in hopes of doing nothing,'' said Michael James of the Secret Service.