NFL To Ban Most Bags In Stadiums


If you’re going to an NFL game this year, you better be careful what kind of bag you bring with you:

The NFL announced a change to its bag policy on Thursday and beginning with the 2013 season, only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags will be permitted inside NFL stadiums.

Under the new policy, fans will be allowed to bring one bag into stadiums and that bag must be clear and not exceed 12″ x 6″ x 12″ in size.

Chanel, Prada and Gucci might not be on board with the new policy, which will prohibit purses from NFL stadiums. Small clutch bags are still permitted, as long they’re no bigger than ‘the size of a hand.’

“Our fans deserve to be in a safe and secure environment,” NFL vice president and chief security officer Jeffrey Miller said in a statement. “Public safety is our top priority. This will make the job of checking items much more efficient and effective. We will be able to deliver a better and quicker experience at the gates and also provide a safer environment. We appreciate our fans’ cooperation.”

Here’s a list of items from the NFL that you will not be allowed to bring into stadiums: purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, seat cushions, luggage of any kind, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.

Just to be clear: you can still bring a camera, binoculars or a tablet into the stadium, you just can’t bring any of those items in a non-clear bag.

The New York Giants bag above is an example of the kind of bag that you would be allowed to bring into the stadium. I’m not sure if this is something that only the Giants sell, or if someone is planning to make versions available with all team logos. It would certainly be another money making opportunity, which we all know the NFL cannot pass up.

Although not explicitly stated, it seems clear that this new policy is a direct result of the bombing at the Boston Marathon, where the Tsarnaev brothers transported their bombs to the site of the explosion using backpacks that one cannot see through. The only alternative to this policy, arguably, would be to put x-ray machines at every entrance to every NFL stadium which, while it may be logistically possible, would be both expensive and incredibly disruptive to the process of getting fans (many of whom wait until just before game time to get to their seats so they can enjoy tailgaiting) into the stadium. So, once again, I guess, the terrorists have won.

FILED UNDER: Environment, Sports, Terrorism, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. James Joyner says:

    While the pretext of this is security, it strikes me as mostly designed to ensure people don’t sneak in snacks and drinks that they could otherwise be gouged for inside. After all, they already search bags.

  2. I did find it odd to see seat cushions on the list, though

  3. James Joyner says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Yeah, that’s just cruel. I guess it does save money on security, though. It’s a lot easier to search people if they can’t carry anything. I’m shocked TSA hasn’t banned roll-on bags and other large carry-ons, for example. Security checks would be a breeze if people were limited to a purse or briefcase.

  4. superdestroyer says:

    @James Joyner:

    I have always been amazed at the different security rules/gate rules at different sporting events. Baltimore not only let me carry in a 24 ounce soda but I also had a polish sausage dog that I purchased across the street from the gate. However, at the ATT National, they had metal detector not to keep out guns or knives but to keep rich people from bring in their smart phones.

    Almost everything that stadiums claim is for security is really for some other reason.

  5. Dean says:

    Finally, the NFL is banning the dreaded…seat cushion.

    Apparently, Roger Goodell has never sat on a plastic seat at Soldier Field in January. This is another dumb, knee-jerk reaction to make us “feel” safe.

    Prior to every game, every bag is searched and every person is either patted down or wanded down. How does the clear plastic bag actually make us any safer

    Hopefully there will be enough push back that they modify this rule.

  6. dean says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I did find it odd to see seat cushions on the list, though

    Obviously, you’ve never been hit in the head with a seat cushion.

    Sarcasm off.

  7. al-Ameda says:

    Jeez … It’s already the case that the best NFL viewing experience is from your home in front of your Big Screen, and with access to Red Zone.

    This just makes it official – stay at home and save hundreds of dollars in parking, tickets, and food and drink costs. The NFL is headed for interesting times – it costs a lot to own a season ticket and the stay-at-home option is damned appealing.

  8. Dean says:


    Good points. What makes this so interesting is that the NFL is very concerned about the big screen viewing experience as a critical competitor. This new rule makes home an even more likely viewing destination.