New York, New Jersey ready for Super Bowl close-up

Sun Feb 2, 2014 8:51am EST
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By Scott Malone and Victoria Cavaliere

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some 80,000 football fans from around the world are set to pack into New Jersey's Met Life Stadium on Sunday for the first NFL Super Bowl championship played in the New York area, an event that has shone a fresh spotlight on the region.

The weather forecast is mild, rather than the below-freezing conditions that had been feared for the first outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl, and police have so far faced just one highly visible threat, a Friday hoax in which suspicious but harmless powder was sent to hotels around the region.

For fans from the New York area, the game presents a rare opportunity to see a Super Bowl without traveling to Florida, California or other warm-weather locations that often host what is typically the most-watched sporting event in the United States.

"I normally watch the game on TV and get wings and whatever, but the combination of the location and the fact that one of my coworkers could get the tickets at face value, meant we could go and pay only a moderately exorbitant amount of money," said Julia Lunetta, a 33-year-old tech worker from Dobbs Ferry, New York, who plans to attend the Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks matchup with friends from work.

The game's location, at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, some 10 miles west of New York City, has posed logistical challenges for organizers, with events in the week leading up to the 6:25 p.m. ET (2300 GMT) kickoff spread among New York City, Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey.

On Sunday, police will be out in force, inspecting fans even as they board the trains and buses that are expected to carry about 30,000 people to the stadium.

Officials from more than 100 state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation, are monitoring the region from a command center located at an undisclosed site near the stadium.

"There's been a lot of planning for a lot of months and even years in making this Super Bowl successful, and that's in large part because of the broad metropolitan area that we're in," said Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League. "It's more complex being in a larger area where you're crossing over states and different jurisdictions, but everyone has been fantastic.   Continued...

A New York Police officer tries to control the massive traffic of fans while they gather en masse at Super Bowl Boulevard zone ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII in New York February 1, 2014. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz