NFL Employs RFID Readers for Improved Locker Room Security at Super Bowl LII

After Tom Brady’s jersey was stolen from the Patriots’ locker room at last year’s Super Bowl, the NFL implemented new security measures to better keep track of individuals.

MINNEAPOLIS — Following the New England Patriots’ victory at Super Bowl LI, Tom Brady’s game-worn jersey was stolen from the locker room by a member of international media.

The jersey was found in Mexico after a nearly two month long search, but it raised questions as to how secure NFL locker rooms may or may not be.

That is why the NFL has changed its security procedures to ensure similar incidents do not happen.

Media entering team locker rooms will now have their credentials scanned by RFID readers to help keep track of who is in the room at all times.

The league issued the following announcement to media covering the Super Bowl:

Only individuals assigned a working press credential will be admitted to the locker room postgame. Any person entering or exiting the locker room must ‘tap in’ and ‘tap out’ when entering or leaving utilizing the RF readers located at the entrance to the locker room. There will be an electronic chip embedded in every credential — both media and non-media — and electronic readers at the entry. Failure to ‘tap out’ when leaving will prevent a timely re-entry into the locker room area upon your return.

Previously at NFL locker rooms, press credentials were checked visually. That means a reporter could come and go with no log of entry and exit.

“We worked extensively since last year’s Super Bowl, not only with the clubs but also with our stadium and with technology,” NFL Chief Security Officer Cathy Lanier told ESPN. “The credentialing has changed and the system itself has changed. Who gets access, where and how they get access has changed. Specifically, what door you go in and what time you have access to go in that door.”

Considering the number of spectators involved and how fast technology has advanced, it’s somewhat surprising it has taken this long to implement any sort of access control solution to Super Bowl locker rooms.

“The way we like to look at this is, we are doing every possible thing with cameras and technology to keep things secure all the way up to that locker room door. Then we rely on our partners from our clubs, and that would be the Patriots and the Eagles that are here, to make sure with everything that goes on inside that locker room, they keep safe. It has been an extensive review and extensive changes that we made, but as you know, even with credentialed people in a really tight security operation, there can be incidents. We’re hoping that that does not happen this year,” says Lanier.

About the Author

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Steven A. Karantzoulidis is the Web Editor for Security Sales & Integration. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Communication and has a background in Film, A/V and Social Media.

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