Please Help Me Debunk Superbowl Tailgate Rumor

There’s this rumor going around that I refuse to believe. Please help me debunk it.

The story — related to me at dinner in all seriousness by a serious person who convinced me that he believed it– is that Homeland Security have banned tailgate parties at the Super Bowl, which you may have heard is being held in Miami this year.

I’ve been somewhat distressed to see how meekly Americans put up with ‘security theater’ requirements that restrict their freedoms while adding at best minuscule amounts to actual security. But if the day comes when football fans will give up their tailgate parties due to some diktat from Homeland Security, well, that’s the day that I’ll have to admit beyond peradventure that the people who hate our freedoms have won.

I did a little google search and can’t find anything which suggests such a limit might be in force, which strengthens my belief that this is an urban legend. (I did find some fun debunking of other Super Bowl related urban legends.)

I did find this long list of security restrictions on what you can bring into Dolphin Stadium but I don’t read this as applying to the parking areas where the tailgate parties happen.

Full text of the somewhat Draconian security rules for entrance into the stadium reproduced below. I wonder if the rumor is based on these?


Every person attending Super Bowl XLI at Dolphin Stadium is required to have a ticket, regardless of age or size.

Screening Procedures for Those Attending Super Bowl XLI

Security screening at Dolphin Stadium will be significantly heightened for the Super Bowl. Many items usually permitted in NFL events will not be allowed into the Super Bowl. The National Football League and the Miami-Dade Police Department strongly recommend that spectators minimize the number and size of all items carried into the Stadium.

All items carried by spectators will be carefully inspected and potentially not allowed into the Stadium. Spectators are urged to bring nothing larger than a very small purse or bag. The NFL, Dolphin Stadium and the Miami-Dade Police Department will not hold prohibited or excluded items for spectators.

Safety and security of all fans is still at the forefront in preparation for Super Bowl XLI.


Weapons, Knives and Explosives



Laser Lights and Pointers


Inflatables (Beach Balls, etc.)

Throwing Objects (Footballs, etc.)

Poles or Sticks


Animals (Except Service Animals)

Noisemakers and Horns

Food and Beverages
Containers of any type:

    * Coolers (of any size)
    * Bottles
    * Cans, Hairspray
    * Camera and Binocular Cases/Tripods
    * Mace / Pepper Spray

Large Bags including:

    * Backpacks
    * Duffel and Grocery Bags
    * Luggage


Laptop Computers

Additional Information

Size Requirements — All permissible items carried by spectators must measure no more then
12 inches x 12 inches x 12 inches.

Cameras and Binoculars — Small cameras and binoculars will be allowed. Camera cases and binocular cases of any size are prohibited. No spectator cameras with lenses over six inches (6″) long will be permitted. Again, camcorders will be prohibited.

Electronic devices — Spectators are strongly urged not to bring electronic devices of any sort into the Stadium. Any electronic device will be thoroughly inspected causing delays of the individual spectator, as well as other patrons. Electronic devices include, but are not limited to, cellular telephones, pagers, miniature televisions and radios, and personal digital assistants (PDA’s).

Prohibited items and items determined to be not appropriate for entry into the Stadium will be the responsibility of the ticket holder and cannot be accepted or checked by the NFL, Dolphin Stadium or the Miami-Dade Police Department. We urge spectators to secure these items in vehicles or hotel rooms.

The cooperation, patience and understanding of spectators is greatly appreciated by the National Football League, Dolphin Stadium and the Miami-Dade Police Department. The cooperation of all spectators will greatly aid in the level of security provided to all in attendance at these events.

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18 Responses to Please Help Me Debunk Superbowl Tailgate Rumor

  1. anonymous says:

    My boyfriend is working the superbowl game, and he just got back from their first orientation. He said there is no tailgating allowed on stadium property by fans, but the NFL and ESPN are throwing parties in the parking area pre-game. But those parties are for invitees only.

  2. Michael says:

    OK, I am prepared to believe that an ancient (well, sorta ancient) American tradition has been commodified.

    If you are saying that the previously open tradition of tailgating has been subject to enclosure in order to allow large profit-making corporations to better cater to the wealthy and powerful, I’d admit that isn’t necessarily a change in anything fundamental. People have been putting up with that the sort of thing for with a long time.

  3. Sam says:

    Fox News (yeah, I know) says it’s true:,2933,247167,00.html

  4. Phill says:

    All the BBQ sauces etc have to fit in a quart sized plastic ziplock bag

  5. anon says:

    CBS4 quotes NFl and MDPD officials saying it’s true.

  6. Remember the movie (whose name I have forgotten) from about 20 years ago involving a terrorist incident at the Super Bowl? Unfortunately, it is where everyone must be thinking something might happen.

  7. Chris says:

    The terrorist have won. Plain and simple. Thanks cowardly republicans.

  8. some guy says:

    I think your concerns are way overblown. Your average Fred Football Fanatic isn’t at the Super Bowl. The people in the stands are corporate sponsors, VIPs and rich people, with maybe a few thousand regular Johnny Sixpacks and Jimmy Lunchbuckets who got lucky enough to buy a ticket for face value ($650, I believe) thrown in for good measure. So most fans don’t want to set up the grill and cook burgers in the parking lot. They want a catered affair where they can mingle with other rich people. Most of America is tailgating or eating nachos at home.

  9. Sue Ann says:

    The old movie is called “Black Sunday”. The plot is loosely based on the Munich Olympic killings, only in this one a group of terrorists (Arab) hijack the Goodyear Blimp intending to crash it into the spectators at a Super Bowl Game, raining 200.000.00 posion darts into the crowd before doing so.

    So, if Homeland Security is so worried about tailgaters, why don’t they ban the Blimp?

  10. Joe says:

    I heard this morning on the radio that the NFL has banned open flames in the parking lot before the super bowl. You can bring food, and you can drink non-alcoholic beverages, but you cannot have an open flame of any kind in the lot.

  11. Sue Ann says:

    One local radio show this morning said that open flame was not allowed up to 1 mile radius from the stadium, and if it is that means that they can’t even have a cook out for the Superbowl in the Parking lot of the radio station because it is within the mile.

    I wonder if that also applies to people living within the 1 mile radius? Are they not permitted to bar-b-que in their own back yards on Superbowl Sunday?

  12. mike diamond says:

    Can you drop someone off at dolphin stadium and pick them up afterwards. If so how would I do this? Can I pull right up to stadium or what streets will be open for this.
    Thank you very much.

  13. Don Juan says:

    There was a movie a few years ago called “The Sum of All Fears” where a cigarette machine wired with a small atomic bomb blew up in a football stadium. Crazy stuff…

  14. jer says:

    Thi is the website w/ all info on parking and transportation. it also has a contact phone#

  15. jer says:

    I have found a tailgate for the Super Bowl near the stadium!! here is the link

  16. Evan says:

    Well, this morning, two days PRIOR to the stupid bowl, Local radio station 105.9 FM morning show HAD a tailgate party scheduled. The city of Miami Gardens, overnight, sent out a notice that arrests would be made and fines would be levied. So, the station has moved this event to their parking lot, and still might be facing violations. This is definately unbelievable. The only reason for a ban on tailgateing is that the corporate sponsors INSIDE don’t want to loose money. I dred 2010 when the stupid bowl makes its way back to my city. I bet you won’t be able to paint your face or wear team colors, but you can sure as crap can wear a Burka for your State Driver’s License.

    Disenfranchised American,
    Evan Emerson

  17. jer says:

    Checkout Tampa in 09!!!! We know how to throw a Super bowl party!!

  18. Karen says:

    Everyone who thinks this Insanity in Miami need to be stopped before it infects the rest of the league should visit Their “Tailgating is not a Crime” campaign will focus all year on preventing a repeat next year in Arizona.

    Stand up, speak out, and grill on!

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