In the wake of the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon last week, the NFL announced it would increase security measures for the 2013 NFL Draft. On Tuesday, the league announced those new measures would be in effect for the annual event that takes place Thursday through Sunday.
And the measures jibe with what Jim Reese, a former Delta Force officer and CEO of TigerSwan -- a company that handles private security for events, told CBSSports.com the NFL should do in order to increase the security.
"Compared to the Boston Marathon, the NFL Draft has fewer access points," Reese told CBSSports.com. "It makes security easier to manage, but the crowds waiting in line outside the event become the number one vulnerability."
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The NFL made managing the crowds waiting in line a priority. Typically the line outside Radio City Music Hall is long and slow; the NFL is opening the doors earlier than usual and letting fans in at 5:30 p.m. ET.
But there's an extra wrinkle added: Fans must obtain a wristband on Wednesday, which will be good for a ticket they'll receive on Thursday. (Those can be picked up on a first-come, first-served basis Wednesday beginning at 9 p.m.) Anyone who gets a wristband will be registered and must provide contact info. It's a smart move because it actually provides an additional barrier to the process while likely streamlining it.
The NFL will offer the same process for Friday. Wristbands for Friday can be picked up on Thursday; the line for tickets opens at 3:30 p.m. ET with doors opening on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. ET.
Getting in to Saturday's event is just a first-come, first-served basis; if you can sit there for eight hours while teams make a lot of selections you've probably never heard of, good for you.
It's an unwieldy process, but one that should help the NFL manage security. As Reese pointed out, the NFL Draft isn't remotely close to the Boston Marathon in terms of being a "soft target" -- Reese actually qualified the draft as a "semi-soft target."
"The NFL Draft would be considered a semi-soft target because its limited access is easier to secure, as opposed to the Boston Marathon, which was considered a soft target," Reese said.
That's a result of secure access points and the NFL's doing precisely what Reese prescribed, by making sure to "minimize risk at every access point."
The league has also banned an interesting (but mostly unsurprising) list of items that fans can bring in. This list includes things that are obvious -- weapons, knives and explosives -- and things that are less obvious -- frisbees, beach balls and animals.
And, of course, everyone entering will be subject to "security screenings, including metal detectors, pat-downs, and other special security checks."
As most anyone who's attended an NFL-run event can tell you, security is a high priority for the league. Reese noted as much, pointing out that the league's security is a "great organization" and pointing out the various partners for an event like the draft.
"NFL security is a great organization. They have best practices and are coordinating with the NYC police, fire departments and EMS," Reese said. "Because the event is in New York, it's likely the Department of Homeland Security, Joint Terrorism Task Force, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are all involved as well. Security for the draft is bigger than the NFL itself."
The league confirmed what Reese said, as Jeffrey Miller, NFL vice president and chief security officer, said in the league's release that multiple law-enforcement organizations will be helping the NFL handle security for the event.
"The NFL and its clubs have operated with a very high level of security since 9/11 for all of our games and events," Miller said. "With the help of the FBI, New York Police Department, Radio City and our private security partners, we will enhance our already comprehensive plans for the safety of our fans and other attendees."