Posted September 13, 2013
When fans file into Gillette Stadium Friday night for the New England Patriots exhibition game, they will face new, stricter rules on what they can bring with them - a legacy of the Boston Marathon bombings. Almost all bags, including backpacks, pocketbooks and beach bags, will be banned for security reasons. The only bags that will be allowed are clear plastic bags no larger than 12 inches long, 12 inches high and 6 inches wide, and women's clutches no larger than 7 inches long, 4 inches high and 2 inches wide. A ban continues on items such as alcoholic beverages, weapons, drugs, coolers, umbrellas, noisemakers and beach balls. Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the new rules are a National Football League policy and apply to all football games. They went into effect with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, and were used during the Patriots game in Philadelphia last week. Friday will be the first time they will be in effect at Gillette Stadium. Fans often want to bring a bag into the stadium to carry items such as sweatshirts and programs and to keep them dry when it rains or snows. James said the team has notified season ticket holders of the changes and sent them clear plastic bags for use at the stadium. Police Chief Ed O'Leary said the ban is a reaction to the April Boston Marathon bombing during which the suspects allegedly planted bombs placed in backpacks near the race's finish line. He said there was a meeting with parking lot owners Tuesday to distribute literature for fans so they will be informed on the new rules before carrying banned items to the stadium.