Posted November 1, 2016
Bernie Augustine - NY Daily News
Police at MetLife Stadium are among the busiest in the NFL, cuffing nearly 22 fans a weekend according to data collected by the Washington Post.
In an in-depth look at violence among fans at NFL stadiums, the Post found that, on average, 21.96 arrests are made over the 17 weeks of the season at the Meadowlands; 22.5 at Giants games and 21.5 at Jets games. The data was collected from local law enforcement and covers the 2011-2015 seasons. San Diego has the distinction of being the city with the most arrests per game at 24.58 while the fewest arrests are made in Seattle, Chicago and Tampa Bay (0.8).
Many of the factors that one would expect to lead to arrests were proven right by the Post’s data; there are more arrests during divisional games, and even more events during divisional games that kick off after 4 p.m. There are certain fan bases — like the Radiers’ — that often bring violence into the cities they visit.
Interestingly, the Post’s reporting found that despite the high number of arrests, New York often received high remarks, according to Jeff Miller, the NFL’s former head of security, for how it handled security. A lot of that can be chalked up to zero-tolerance policies put in place by many franchises, including San Diego and New York.
Still, Miller told the Post that he was shocked at the level of violence he witnessed when he went to his first Monday night game in Kansas City as the NFL’s security chief in 2008.
“I’ve been in actual prison riots,” said Miller, who was a police commissioner in Pennsylvania before joining the NFL. “I looked around me, and I saw so many people getting tased by police right outside the venue, it was unbelievable.
“I looked around and said: We have got to change this environment.”
Miller, who stepped down from his post in the spring, quickly identified parking lots — where some teams open the gates up to five hours before kickoff to indulge eager tailgaters — as a major area of concern. His fears were backed up when Kyle Van Winkle was found dead after he was assaulted in an Arrowhead Stadium parking lot three years ago.
The Post’s reporting essentially confirmed what anyone who’s been to an NFL game already knows; tensions run highest at divisional games, and alcohol is fuel for the fans’ fire.
The Post received data from 29 of the 31 cities where the NFL plays (the Jets and Giants both play in East Rutherford) though some cities only provided partial data and Cleveland and New Orleans didn’t provide any data at all.