Emergency Preparedness, Safety, Security

Super Bowl Security: What Officials Are Doing to Protect the Big Game

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in close coordination with state and local officials, is leading federal efforts to ensure the safety and security of employees, players, and fans during Super Bowl LVII.

Earlier this week, DHS Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas visited Phoenix and Glendale, Arizona, to inspect security operations and meet with law enforcement and National Football League (NFL) partners.

Mayorkas participates in NFL’s Feb. 7 Public Safety Press Conference with Chief Cathy Lanier and other partners.

Mayorkas said, “Dedicated DHS personnel are on the ground preparing and coordinating, and stand ready to provide operational and technical support to the NFL, State of Arizona, and the cities of Glendale and Phoenix to keep Super Bowl LVII safe and ensure everyone can enjoy the game.”

DHS’s support for Super Bowl LVII includes more than 600 personnel. The event was voluntarily submitted to DHS for a risk assessment—as with past Super Bowls—and was classified as Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) Level 1, meaning that it requires extensive federal support. DHS noted the department has not identified any credible threats related to Super Bowl LVII.

Security Initiatives

Several DHS agencies are working with state and local authorities and the NFL on a range of initiatives for the big game:  

  • Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) is providing subject matter experts and technology to detect and prevent potential WMD threats. 

  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is providing assets including aviation security, video surveillance capabilities, and non-intrusive inspection of vehicles and cargo. CBP officers are scanning the cargo entering the stadium for contraband such as narcotics, weapons, and explosives.

  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is providing physical security, as well as cyber and communications expertise and resources in support of the event. Leading up to Super Bowl LVII, CISA conducted physical and cybersecurity vulnerability assessments; provided communications planning and support; led multiple exercises; and held bombing prevention workshops with state and local partners.
Mayorkas inspects security operations on Feb. 6.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) units to ensure that, in the event of an emergency, state and local security personnel can quickly link and coordinate with federal partners. MERS provides mobile telecommunications, operational support, life support, and power generation assets for the on-site management in the event of a natural or man-made incident or act of terrorism. The agency will maintain situational awareness, report incidents, and activate federal response partners as deemed necessary to protect public health, restore essential services, and lead emergency relief and recovery efforts.

  • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Response Team will provide interior stadium tactical support. CBP and HSI will conduct operations specifically targeting counterfeit vendors and merchants of game-related sportswear. This is part of enhanced enforcement efforts related to intellectual property rights violations to ensure fans are getting official, and safe, memorabilia.

  • Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) conducts Joint Special Event Threat Assessments with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assess the threat landscape leading up to the Super Bowl. I&A has worked with its partners to develop assessments of potential threats from actors seeking to target the Super Bowl and share relevant intelligence with federal, state, and local partners. 

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  • The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), in partnership with Arizona state and local agencies, developed toxic chemical release scenarios and analyzed the potential public health impact associated with those scenarios. This information informed the readiness posture of state and local agencies in the region. Additionally, S&T provided SAFETY Act Designation protections to the NFL’s Security and Special Events Management Services as an eligible Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology. These services include security measures used by NFL Security Department personnel and independent contractors at host venues for NFL-sponsored special events, including the Super Bowl.

  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is deploying multiple Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams and explosives detection canine teams in support of Super Bowl LVII.  They will work with their federal, state, and local stakeholders to sweep the stadium, other essential facilities, and secure mass transit locations in and around the Glendale area.

  • DHS is continuing its partnership with the NFL on the “If You See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign during the Super Bowl. The campaign is using social media, displays within the stadium, and advertising throughout the Phoenix and Glendale areas to raise public awareness of the importance of reporting terrorism-related suspicious activity.
  • The DHS Blue Campaign is partnering with the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, Arizona Human Trafficking Council, and Arizona Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family, on digital and out-of-home advertising in the Glendale and Phoenix area to spread awareness of human trafficking. Blue Lightning Initiative is partnering with local area airports to raise awareness and train staff to recognize and report human trafficking.

  • On Super Bowl Sunday, the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center will partner with the NFL to host a tip line where the public and game attendees can report suspicious activity. For attendees within State Farm Stadium, they may call 623-433-7156 or text 623-400-2210. Outside of the stadium, the public may call 1-877-429-8477 or call local authorities.

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