NFL calls off Super party in respect to war

January 22, 1991|By George Diaz | George Diaz,Orlando Sentinel

TAMPA, Fla. -- Responding to the disturbing events in the Middle East, the NFL is toning down its annual glut of Super Bowl glitter.

The commissioner's party, an event that highlights pre-game activities, has been canceled, and other league-sponsored events here this week will be reviewed by the NFL.

"Super Bowl week annually is a time for football and celebration both at the Super Bowl site and in many parts of the country," said Joe Browne, NFL vice president of communications and development. "In light of the war in the Middle East, we plan this week to emphasize the game itself and the rich tradition of the Super Bowl in its silver anniversary year while moderating league-sponsored social events.

"We recognize that the American people will not be paralyzed by the events in the Middle East, but the words 'priorities' and 'perspective' are important during Super Bowl XXV activities."

The party was expected to attract about 3,500 people, including league officials, media and other guests. The economic impact in the Tampa Bay area is expected to be limited to revenues lost by caterers.

"We're sorry that the business will be lost, but it's understandable considering the circumstances," said Jim Clark, executive director of the Tampa/Hillsborough Convention and Visitors Association.

The ominous threat of terrorism during the country's biggest sporting event has expanded a security checklist formed by 18 local, state, and federal agencies, in conjunction with the NFL. They include:

* Not allowing spectators to bring in portable radios, televisions, camcorders or still cameras.

* Erecting a 6-foot chain link fence around the stadium approximately 50 feet from the current permanent fence at the stadium.

* Using metal detectors and X-ray equipment at all gate entrances.

* Likely restricting the airspace to 10,000 feet for a half-mile around the stadium. A measure allowing only one blimp and helicopter above the stadium already has been approved.

"We want to make sure that people have a safe time," said Steve Cole, public information coordinator of the city of Tampa. "We hope that everyone understands any little inconvenience, with all that is going on."

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