Fans welcome tight security at Super Bowl 50

Sun Feb 7, 2016 7:54pm EST
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By Rory Carroll

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Reuters) - Fans arriving at Super Bowl 50 between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers were greeted by tight security on Sunday as soldiers stood guard beside beige armored Humvees and security aircraft buzzed overhead.

Thousands of fans mostly in Broncos orange and blue colors went through bag checks, metal detectors and pat downs in their approach to Levi's Stadium.

When they finally arrived at the end of the security process, many stopped to take pictures of and with the soldiers. Some expressed gratitude to the soldiers for their service.

"I understand their presence," said Melissa Rutledge, 49. "When I see the big guns, I like that. I know they are here for me and it makes me feel safe and secure."

Rutledge, who regularly attends Panthers games, also liked that female security guards performed pat downs on female fans and male security on the men – a first for her at a stadium.

Security guards reported no issues and praised the fans for their good humor.

"Everyone is just happy to be here," said one security guard who declined to give his name because he said he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Theresa Starcher, 33, who made the trip from Denver with her two children, said getting through security was easier than she anticipated. Guards did take her 8-year-old son’s football, but she was able to purchase a new one for him inside the stadium. "I wasn't going to argue with them," she said.   Continued...

U.S. military are pictured on patrol before NFL Super Bowl 50 outside Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, United States, February 6, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake