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Steelers Super Bowl Notebook: Secret Service puts on security blitz

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

By Ed Bouchette, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS -- Lest anyone forget, the Super Bowl was scheduled to be played this past Sunday. That was before the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks on the country.

The attacks prompted NFL officials to postpone all games Sept. 16 and 17 and to push the Super Bowl back a week. The security in New Orleans this week far surpasses that in January 1991 for the game in Tampa Bay while the Gulf War was raging.

For one thing, the U.S. Secret Service is in charge of the security this week.

"This is an important event going on in our country," St. Louis cornerback Aeneas Williams said. "I think the NFL does a great job of providing security without the intimidation part with guys walking around with machine guns and stuff like that. They do a great job of keeping us comfortable."

A fence has been erected around the perimeter of the Superdome and security checkpoints have been set up around the city. Fans on game day must pass through metal detectors and all bags and coats will be checked before anyone is permitted to enter.

The news media, which number in the thousands, have experienced the changes in tightened security this week. Members of the media pass daily through metal detectors to get into the press area and are subject to checks of their bags and increasing scrutiny before they enter interview areas.

The job has become even more massive because, in addition to all the fans, news media and celebrities arriving in town for the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras and its many parades have begun here.

Players, for the most part, have expressed little concern and are confident officials are doing their best to protect everyone from possible violence.

"They've done a great job in stadiums around the league," New England wide receiver Troy Brown said. "Dogs everywhere, cops everywhere. They do a great job of screening people coming through the gates. Players feel safe."

Today's the day

New England Coach Bill Belichick promised to name his starting quarterback after practice today, but the Rams say it doesn't matter whether they face Tom Brady or Drew Bledsoe.

"There is not so much a difference as far as the quarterbacks," Aeneas Williams said. "If you told me that they were changing offensive coordinators, you would be dealing with a different situation. But you still have the same guy calling the plays."

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