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NFL on Super Bowl transit problems: A good lesson learned


It’s snowing hard now, but the weather in New York and New Jersey cooperated on Sunday to allow Super Bowl XLVIII to play out without any of the hassles many worried about on that front.

There were hassles getting to and from MetLife Stadium that had nothing to do with the weather, however. There were long delays at the Secaucus train station on the way to the game and jammed platforms at the stadium station after it was over as New Jersey Transit struggled to get thousands of people moving in a black eye for what was touted as the first mass transit Super Bowl.

On Monday morning, NFL executive Eric Grubman addressed the issues. Grubman said people made late decisions to take the train, leading to more than twice as many riders as anticipated, and said it was a “good lesson learned for all of us” about how to plan for all contingencies.

“I think that the underlying reason is that this is a first time for the way this system operates,” Grubman said, via Darryl Slater of the Newark Star-Ledger. “The second time somebody does something of this nature with this kind of planning, whether it’s a Super Bowl or a concert or a convention, moving that many people in that short a period of time, they’ll have different protocols. You could run buses and trains simultaneously from Secaucus, and there was a plan to do that.”

The question is whether or not there will be a second time. The snowstorm on Monday is a reminder of how well Sunday worked out and the transit issues highlight another logistical issue to take into account if and when there’s another bid for a New York/New Jersey Super Bowl.

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49 Responses to “NFL on Super Bowl transit problems: A good lesson learned”
  1. thepftpoet says: Feb 3, 2014 11:26 AM

    I don’t get why the Seahawks fans are so happy?

    The Seattle Seahawks didn’t win the Super Bowl.

    The Seattle PEDhawks won it.

    This whole season was based off of pure cheating and will never be regarded as a true championship.

    This will known as the Asterisk Super Bowl win.

    The Seahawks still have 0 Super Bowl victories.

  2. metalman5150 says: Feb 3, 2014 11:26 AM

    The Best teams is the NFL really put on a show, last night. Good showing to folks who may not be huge american football fans.
    What a joke!

  3. peytonwantsaflag says: Feb 3, 2014 11:28 AM

    confused –

    so when people bought their tickets did they have to disclose their mode of transportation to the game? Or is the NFL able to determine our preferred mode of transportation through our viewing habits? or – is this Eric Grubman just full of crap? (like many management types I’ve come to know)

  4. wwwmattcom says: Feb 3, 2014 11:28 AM

    Its called tri-state traffic. Its the reason we don’t like tourists.

  5. joshm5683 says: Feb 3, 2014 11:32 AM

    I don’t see how its “twice as much as they expected” when they pretty much told people you can’t drive there or take a cab or even walk…….

  6. christophershearin says: Feb 3, 2014 11:33 AM

    Why is it not a requirement that all superbowl festivities occur in same general area that the stadium is located? The superbowl in Indy set the standard for this, why does the league even allow the hoopla to span across such a wide area, I mean this was touted as the new york superbowl, but the game was played in new jersey…..

  7. seatownballers says: Feb 3, 2014 11:35 AM

    The asterisk is for dominance.
    The Vikings should try to learn to tackle, they might make the playoffs

  8. madhouseonmadison says: Feb 3, 2014 11:37 AM

    Let me get this right…

    You’re filling a stadium of 83,000 people.

    You’ve told fans that they can’t get there via car, that cabs will be turned away leaving them with no viable option other than to use public transportation.

    And the NFL says that they got twice as many folks coming through public transportation.

    Christ Sake is this some type of Yogi Berra expression/statement????

  9. seatownballers says: Feb 3, 2014 11:38 AM

    Vikings fans still talking?
    the Broncos would clean your clock on a bad day.
    5-11 doesn’t win championships.

  10. jbaxt says: Feb 3, 2014 11:40 AM

    The superbowl was yesterday?

    The broncos

    Way to ruin the biggest game of the year losers. It was never a game. Seattle flat destroyed that sorry excuse of a football team.

  11. mf1849 says: Feb 3, 2014 11:43 AM

    thepftpoet says: Feb 3, 2014 11:26 AM

    I don’t get why the Seahawks fans are so happy?

    The Seattle Seahawks didn’t win the Super Bowl.

    Dude, 0-3 in the playoffs through the Superbowl. Hopefully you didn’t actually bet any of your paper route money on the games. Where’s Logical, Joehoronto, and Scumsme? usdcoyotesfan: LOL! Epic beatdown! C’mon in, trolls, the water is fine! Go HAWKS!

  12. janvanflac says: Feb 3, 2014 11:45 AM

    Another reason why it’s idiotic to hold a SB in such a crowded, security sensitive area.

  13. lolcowboys says: Feb 3, 2014 11:46 AM

    6-8 thousand people take this joke of a train to a regular season game. Most in attendance are locals and most people drive there.

    12-14 thousand were expected to take the train to the super bowl. Most in attendance are from out of town and staying in Manhattan. Your options are taking the bus or the train. I just don’t see how they can come up with such a small number.

    Leaving the stadium after a regular season game is a disaster. My friend is a NJ Jets season ticket holder and took me to a Monday night game. After the game ended, he says, “Get ready.”

    “Get ready?” I ask.

    “Get ready to run.”

    We leave the stadium and run to the train, bypassing what had to be a couple thousand people. Made it on the first train out of the swamp. Saved ourselves probably an hour.

  14. channer81 says: Feb 3, 2014 11:47 AM

    So he blames the fans for not having plans for getting home and made late decisions to ride the train. Unreal.

  15. taintedsaints2009 says: Feb 3, 2014 11:48 AM

    it’s funny they call it MASS transit

  16. joshm5683 says: Feb 3, 2014 11:51 AM


    Most modern NFL stadiums are outside the cities they represent. Cost of real estate is probably the biggest reason. Cardinals stadium is 45 minutes from Phoenix or so. Gillette is 45 minutes from Boston. So on and so forth. The new 49ers stadium is going to be about 45 minutes from SF as well.

    I think thats part of why LA is also attractive to the NFL for this reason, all proposed stadiums have been in the general downtown area. The Farmer’s Field that had been approved was right next to LA Live and Staples Center.

  17. gorilladunk says: Feb 3, 2014 11:53 AM

    @mattcom….”it’s why we hate tourists”. Take a minute or two and ponder how high your taxes would be without those “tourists” you hate pumping all the dollars into the local economy. I’ve been to NYC on two different occasions and have found the people I came in contact with to be helpful and friendly. Of course, I didn’t have much contact with guys, such as yourself, who sit on the park benches and talk to the birds and squirrels

  18. granadafan says: Feb 3, 2014 11:55 AM

    Goodell and Christie = disaster
    Goodell and Jerry Jones = disaster
    Godell and pro football as we knew it = disaster

  19. whatnojets says: Feb 3, 2014 11:56 AM

    This is why a New Yorker doesn’t like anyone west of the Hudson River!

  20. bnwpnw says: Feb 3, 2014 11:57 AM

    Was lucky enough to go. It was clear from the Super Bowl website that the transit plans weren’t fully thought through. Which is why I bought a parking pass.

  21. kloos366 says: Feb 3, 2014 11:59 AM

    Everyone, don’t let the nonstop same idiotic comments of pftpoet be a representation of Vikings fans. No we are not the greatest team and no we will probably not win the superbowl next year. Seahawks won because of their great defense and very underrated offense. And no I am not salty over the Percy Harvin trade there was some pretty good compensation for him, plus we’ll see how he does over the coming years to pass a judgement.

  22. abqhawk says: Feb 3, 2014 12:03 PM

    Transit problems?

    Oh my, must be a Chris Christie conspiracy.

  23. FinFan68 says: Feb 3, 2014 12:06 PM

    The nfl should not control HOW people get to the game. Was there a profit angle to forcing the overtaxed public transportation system?

  24. mrrodgershood says: Feb 3, 2014 12:06 PM

    This is the same logic used during the rollout of Obamacare! We have 20,000,000 people that are uninsured, but we didn’t anticipate having that much traffic so the website crashed.

  25. mightymightylafootball says: Feb 3, 2014 12:09 PM

    And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

    Which will be closed, of course, if Chris Christie has anything to say about it…

  26. dapollock69 says: Feb 3, 2014 12:11 PM

    Ah. NJ Transit. Now the rest of the country can experience the daily fun residents of our state have been dealing with for years. Mind you the guy in charge didn’t lose his job after parking 100m in trains in a swamp during Sandy. Yes, I know NFL called the shots, but at some point, those who’s job it is to know about these things could have said,” I think we’re going to need a bigger boat.” Pathetic beaurocrats.

  27. joepwn says: Feb 3, 2014 12:12 PM

    The NJ Transit train services to/from MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl was an absolute nightmare. The ineptitude of whoever planned this is just staggering.

  28. newjerseygiants says: Feb 3, 2014 12:13 PM

    I’ve been to MetLife about a dozen times for Giants or Jets games and never had an issue getting in and out of there. But then again, most people drive to the games, are from nearby towns in NJ and not using the pathetic mass transit system.

  29. eatitfanboy says: Feb 3, 2014 12:20 PM

    Is this the same guy who gave the press conference a month ago where he basically said they were going to try and force as many people to use mass transit as possible?

    The reason for the backups was not the system itself or the stations. It was the added security for which the league was responsible. They were forcing everyone to go through airport-level inspections and the stations are not designed for that. Those inspections should have taken place at the stadium where the wide open parking lot areas could have provided more space.

    Believe me, those stations handle alot more than 80,000 people on a typical Monday morning. NJ Transit was NOT the problem.

    BTW- anyone saying that the conditions yesterday will result in more cold weather Super Bowls- The NFL got EXTREMELY lucky. We are getting hammered again here today and there is a huge storm predicted for next weekend. The league essentially won the lottery yesterday.

  30. weepingjebus says: Feb 3, 2014 12:20 PM

    Next time Broncos fans can do everyone a favor and start leaving in the 1st quarter.

  31. jimjets says: Feb 3, 2014 12:30 PM

    Hats off to the Hawks, and thanks for showing the stat-geek nation what this game is supposed to be – defense, run the ball, special teams, and timely clutch completions. It’s not pinball, it’s football. Manning going through NE’s defense, when we all know thay can’t stop a nosebleed was supposed to affect Seattle how, exactly?

    I only hope w/ Idzik coming from Seattle he has learned well and will build the Jets into something close to what these Hawks have.

    Football is also an all weather game, and we should now have SB’s in Philly, Washington, Pittsburgh, Green Bay…all the cold weather places that have been shut out of hosting the game. I spent Saturday in the city and it was wonderful…kudos to the NFL on a great job

  32. lolcowboys says: Feb 3, 2014 12:31 PM

    NJ Transit was not the problem because security. Then why were people stranded there until 1AM? Security checks to leave the stadium?

    eatitfanboy says: Feb 3, 2014 12:20 PM

    The reason for the backups was not the system itself or the stations. It was the added security for which the league was responsible. They were forcing everyone to go through airport-level inspections and the stations are not designed for that. Those inspections should have taken place at the stadium where the wide open parking lot areas could have provided more space.

    Believe me, those stations handle alot more than 80,000 people on a typical Monday morning. NJ Transit was NOT the problem.

  33. cuda1234 says: Feb 3, 2014 12:40 PM

    As usual (and predictable), government tries to take on something challenging and fails.

  34. eatitfanboy says: Feb 3, 2014 12:42 PM

    lolcowboys says:
    Feb 3, 2014 12:31 PM
    NJ Transit was not the problem because security. Then why were people stranded there until 1AM? Security checks to leave the stadium?


    I was referring to getting to the game, when people were coming in from multiple train stations.

    I didn’t think I would need to explain that shoehorning 80,000 people into a single train station at the stadium after the game might prove problematic.

  35. phinfan says: Feb 3, 2014 12:50 PM

    MassTransit Problems????

    Did if have anything to do with the TRAIN WRECK I witnessed yesterday called the superbowl???

  36. thetannchise says: Feb 3, 2014 12:54 PM

    I had to leave Manhattan through Secaucus yesterday. I got up early to miss the super bowl crowd and made it through the station around 10:00. I had a duffle bag, backpack, and a small camera case. Not a single cop or security person checked any of my bags. I understand that I was before the super bowl rush, but it seemed crazy that I could carry three bags of seemingly anything through that station….

  37. lbijake says: Feb 3, 2014 12:56 PM

    Christie closed several tracks in retaliation for the Giants or jets not making the Super Bowl. New jersey, business as usual-FUBAR.

  38. harrisonhits2 says: Feb 3, 2014 1:03 PM

    Here’s some advice for the NFL.

    I’ve been to the Tokyo Dome as part of a crowd of 80,000 or so that almost all went by mass transit. Nobody is better at getting large numbers of people in and out of somewhere than the Japanese. Got in and out of the Tokyo Dome without the slightest problem.

    If the NFL isn’t sure about something like this because no one in the US has done it before, look outside the US for somewhere they commonly do it.

  39. richndc says: Feb 3, 2014 1:07 PM

    As someone who did not care who won, it was astounding how ‘flat’ Denver looked. Not to take away at all from the passion and power brought by EVERY player who went on the field for Seattle, but still. It was like Denver was in a daze at times, and not all their players, but clearly some. It was also obvious that their receivers did not want the ball toward the end of the game. Those D-backs bringing the lumber were a huge part of that. The game was never in question though, so for anyone not a Seattle fan, that sucked. It’s ok, I fully enjoyed the 52-17 smashing the Cowboys put on the Bills in 1993. (should have been 59, but for the hard hustle by Beebe)

  40. tcostant says: Feb 3, 2014 1:11 PM

    This was about NFL greed. $150 to park in the lot that had a lot of sopen spaces because of it.

    The NFL wanted to stud down stuttles from nearby hotels and force people to drive to the transit suttle and pay $50 round trip.

    Moreover, I grew up in Rutherford and I wasn’t allowed to be dropped off and walk into the staduim.

    The whole thing is an outrage.

  41. Denver Geldings - Getting blown out in the SuperBowl since 1960 says: Feb 3, 2014 1:25 PM

    Imagine how bad it would have been if 30,000 Denver fans had stayed beyond the end of the 3rd quarter

  42. annes22 says: Feb 3, 2014 1:26 PM

    That’s exactly why is shouldn’t be in a place like that. It’s a nightmare to go to any ordinary game there, never mind the Super Bowl. I feel bad for the people who became unwell on the station, how would it have been if the snow had come as well??? A triple nightmare.

  43. SeenThisB4 says: Feb 3, 2014 2:01 PM

    The NFL has paid its debt to the Giants/Jets for Met Life Stadium. They won’t be back for another 30 years when the next stadium gets built at taxpayer expense.

  44. mamojo05 says: Feb 3, 2014 2:14 PM

    I attended the Jerry Jones’ fiasco in Dallas and as a result will never attend another Super Bowl. Mind you Jones’ staff blamed only the NFL when I complained. Transportation in Dallas was also a huge issue. Trains and buses and walking a mile around the barrades. Then being herded like cattle to the slaughter thru a chain link funnel. Unless you are arriving by limo dressed in diamonds and furs …..your comfort or safety is of no concern to the NFL. I have been waiting 3 years for a response from a NFL attorney. I have requested a refund for my ticket as we waited in line for 6 hours with no access to water or comfort stations.

  45. sdelmonte says: Feb 3, 2014 2:17 PM

    The lesson: don’t hold this game here. The system as it exists can’t be stretched any further, the necessity of mega-high security can’t be altered any further, and the luck of the draw with the weather can’t be changed. It was a nice experiment, and we are damned lucky it didn’t fall to pieces.

    I love it here, but this is a tough place to do things in. Tough enough that I would push the local governments to say no to another Super Bowl.

  46. coachbeck says: Feb 3, 2014 4:32 PM

    No more cold Super Bowls. If you can’t grow a palm tree on stadium grounds. Then the Super Bowl should not be held there.

    Exceptions being a dome.

  47. rscalzo says: Feb 3, 2014 4:58 PM

    They won’t be back for another 30 years when the next stadium gets built at taxpayer expense…..

    Metlife was built using money from both teams and the NFL. The previous stadium was built using state funding as was the other two structures.

    Contrary to the comments, you could drive to the stadium if you had a $150 parking pass.

  48. roadtrip3500 says: Feb 3, 2014 6:00 PM

    Here’s the issue in a nutshell:

    No one arrives at a stadium at the same time, regardless of travel mode – they arrive spread out over several hours depending on when they want to arrive and what plans they have before the game.

    But… everyone leaves at once. Unlike the buses which were staged in the parking lots and had a dedicated lane blocked just for them, the train was limited by its own physical infrastructure… there are only two tracks at the stadium train station, and when all of the people who want the train show up at once, many will have to wait until the trains fill, leave, discharge at Secaucus and Hoboken, then return to do it again.

  49. elliottcovert says: Feb 3, 2014 7:43 PM

    It’s official, New York can’t handle the Superbowl.

    Let’s do ourselves a favor a keep the game limited to Miami, New Orleans, Houston, Tampa, and Glendale.

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