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League alters bag policy for safety, convenience


At a time when the NFL is championing diversity, the league still doesn’t want to see men with purses. But for entirely different reasons.

The NFL is now prohibiting purses and other similar bags from pro football stadiums.

A team source alerted PFT to the looming change in the NFL’s policy regarding bags. The NFL has confirmed that the policy, primarily intended to enhance safety, was revised based on the recommendation of the Stadium Security and Fan Conduct Committee.

Fans will be encouraged to bring no bags of any kind to NFL stadiums. Starting with the 2013 preseason, only certain bags will be permitted.

Specifically, the bags must be clear, and they must be made of plastic, vinyl, or PVC. The dimensions may not exceed 12 inches by six inches by 12 inches. Alternatively, fans may bring a one-gallon Ziploc (product placement!) freezer bag.

Fans are limited to one bag each. Teams will be encouraged to make clear bags available for their belongings. Binoculars, phones, and cameras can be can be carried in to the stadium.

Coincidentally, clear plastic tote bags bearing official NFL team logos are available for purchase.

This means no purses (other than small “clutch” bags) or backpacks or coolers or briefcases or fanny packs or cinch bags or seat cushions or luggage of any kind or computer bags or camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size. The NFL has explained that seat cushions are prohibited because of the possibility that they will be used to conceal an explosive device.

Again, small “clutch” bags (roughly the size of a hand) are permitted. Also, an exception will be made for medically necessary items, subject to inspection at the gate.

Other venues have taken similar measures. The University of Michigan, Penn State University, and Michigan State University prohibit all bags, and TD Garden in Boston allows only “clutch” bags. It’s amazing more venues haven’t joined this trend.

The goal, in addition to safety, is to minimize the time spent inspecting items at the gate. This procedure makes it easier to eyeball what fans are bringing to the stadium.

Ideally, fans would bring nothing, other than their wallets.

All (or at least most) kidding aside, it’s a good policy. To ensure that everyone at a game is safe, sacrifices have to be made. In lieu of sacrificing a bunch of time standing in line while gigantic purses and backpacks are searched, this policy makes plenty of sense.

And if fans don’t like it, they can watch the game at home. The fact that the NFL is willing to let fans make that choice at a time when the league is trying desperately to lure fans to the stadium demonstrates the importance the NFL has attached to the issue.