Does the NFL just hate bags in general? It’s starting to seem so. Instead of an organised policy that has a clear line to security concerns, the whole debacle is starting to smell like a simple hatred for the convenience of bags of all kinds. In fact, NFL Chief of Security Jeffrey Miller was even quoted as saying ‘We encourage our fans not to bring any type of bags.’ And not only is the NFL’s War on Bags obvious from quotes like that, it’s obvious from the league’s actions as well.
Stash or Trash
The new policy is confusing on many levels. First of all, few teams or stadiums have taken the trouble to clearly post the guidelines or reminders of the new clears bag policy around game days, resulting in many fans arriving to games months after hearing about the new policy – and promptly forgetting all about it.
Second, many assumed that small purses and other bags would be allowed – which they are, but only within very tight guidelines that aren’t easily found anywhere. As a result, many fans are being faced with stern security personnel on game day who offer them standard freezer-style plastic bags and tell them they can transfer their belongings to these bags and either stash their purses and backpacks in their cars – or throw them away.
That’s right, an option being offered fans at the ticket gate is to take the bags they spent good money on and throw them in the trash.
Even fans who remembered the new policy are suffering as they give up on figuring out the requirements and forego bags altogether – resulting in a spike of Lost and Found claims in stadiums around the country as phones, wallets, and other items pop out of pockets when people leap up to react to plays.
Even worse, the bags for sale on the NFL’s official web site are confusing, because many of the bags for sale do not conform to the new policy, but fans might be forgiven for assuming they would, since they’re being sold by the NFL itself. This has led to the occasional super indignity of buying a new bag specifically to take to games and then having to throw it away at the gate.
More and more fans are discovering solutions on the web, however. The Clear Bag Store, for example, has expanded its NFL-compliant offerings to include the His and Hers RUN bags (in black and pink, carefully designed to comply with all NFL requirements (clear plastic, vinyl or PVC no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches). Other options are also starting to pop up as fan frustration with the War on Bags continues to get attention.
In the meantime, the NFL needs to get out there and make the new policy clear and well-publicised so fans don’t get confused and lose their bags to the garbage when they attend a game!