The NFL Bag Policy- A Fan’s Perspective

I was shocked and appalled when I first heard about the NFL’s decision to implement this new bag policy. I can very clearly remember my first thoughts:

  • Surely they’re kidding… The Hawks gave us season ticket holders little vinyl  12th man backpacks one year… They aren’t going to outlaw those, are they…?
  • What about my Malcolm Smith autographed Seahawks purse? What self-respecting 12th woman goes to the game without her authentic NFL Seahawks purse???
  • But it gets cold in November! (I heard no blankets initially)
  • Um, I have a disease… What about all the crap I have to bring to games…?

Let’s examine these under the bare bulb of reality, shall we?

  • They’re not kidding, and don’t call them Shirley. (sorry!) It doesn’t matter what bags you used in the past. From this point forward, if you want to tote your stuff into a game, you will have to use one of their authentic, NFL sanctioned clear carry bags. (or a one gallon ziplock)
  • No one cares how much you like Malcolm Smith or your snazzy purse. Don’t bring the darn thing to the CLink. Carry it to work to make your co-workers jealous but don’t bring a purse larger than your hand to the game.
  • It does get cold in November. Blankets are still allowed. I hear you can carry them over your shoulder so they don’t fill up your bag. Gives new meaning to the term “wet blanket”
  • If you have a disease that requires dragging crap to the games, you must go to a special disease gate so your crap can be inspected. Even though your crap wasn’t dangerous last year, it might be this year. Remember, it’s for your safety.

Well, I’m all about verification, so I emailed the Commish. Here’s what I got back:

Greetings Asthmagirl,

 It’s [redacted] from the NFL. I work with Commissioner Goodell who asked me to respond to your email.

Please see the link to a website — http://www.nfl.com/allclear — that further explains the policy and how it will make going to games even safer and also making getting into the stadium easier. You will see photos of what bags will be permitted. Fans will still be able to bring in the same items as in previous years. We are simply having fans bring them in different bags that will make the screening process safer and faster.

In addition to putting items into a clear bag, women may also bring in a small clutch bag to carry any personal items. If you have any additional concerns with personal or medical items, you may also go to a designated area for screening.  

Thanks again for reaching out to us. Please let me know if you have additional questions or you may also contact your team.

Yes, I have additional questions…. What about my disease crap? I’ll open my bag to let security see it, but I really don’t want to walk through the stadium with my crap on display. And my hip is deteriorating…  and seat cushions are outlawed?

 Hi Asthmagirl,

If your seat cushion is a medical necessity, you will be allowed to bring it in but you must go to the designated area to be screened.

Hey, I’m all about making games EVEN SAFER. So let’s evaluate this: You’ve probably discerned by now that I have funky lungs and a wobbly hip. Luckily, the NFL is sympathetic.

For my lung crap (to allow breathing during fireworks, cold weather, dampness and the occasional attempt to yell, I either need to show it off in the plastic bag throughout the stadium or go to the segregated disease line, where all the other folks with medical necessities will be waiting for me. Kind of points us out to everyone doesn’t it. Something must be wrong with “those people” in “that line.”

For my wobbly hip, which does indeed feel better sitting on a seat cushion for 4 hours rather than a hard plastic chair, I must now have my seat cushions examined. Are they really a danger? Are they safe to sit on? Will you tag them so that I’m not confronted 20 times as I walk through the stadium regarding how I got them through gimp line in the first place? Do you just need to know who has seat cushions in case there’s some sort of zombie seat cushion attack?

I’m not issuing ultimatums regarding whether or not I’ll remain a season ticket holder. I love my Hawks, a lot. But I will say that this policy has precious little to do with public safety and everything to do with ridiculous rules. Either purses and seat cushions are dangerous, or they’re not. If my purse and seat cushion are dangerous in the CLink, how come they aren’t dangerous across the street in Safeco field when I’m watching the Mariners?

I also don’t believe the policy is well thought out.

  • If I can bring in whatever I brought in previous years as [redacted] says, EXCEPT a purse, then really, the policy is discriminating against women…. Or men who carry purses. I’m all about equal opportunity.
  • If, to bring in medically necessary items in a non-see-through bag, I must go through a special medically necessary line, is that discrimination against people with medical necessities?
  • What if the medically necessary line gets to be two blocks long because everyone wants to bring their seat cushions in and claims to have a bad hip? Next year, will the NFL require us to have doctor’s notes for our seat cushions?

Ultimately, I think this is one of the silliest, most illogical policies the NFL has ever come up with. And that’s saying a lot.

I still love my Malcolm Smith autographed purse!

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