LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Security officials have been working behind the scenes in Tampa preparing for any potential threat when the Chiefs take on the Buccaneers Sunday.
The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting spectacle in the U.S. each year and because of its national significance, it’s always classified as a SEAR 1 event which is the highest level of security.
“We all know that football is a team sport, but security is a team sport as well,” said Michael McPherson, FBI special agent in charge.
Just as the Buccaneers and Chiefs will be operating their finely tuned game plans on the field Sunday, so will hundreds of federal, state, and local security professionals.
“While the football teams will be on the field, we will be all around it,” said David Pekoske, acting deputy secretary of Department of Homeland Security.
Long before Tom Brady became a Buccaneer or the Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs ended Kansas City’s 50-year Super Bowl title drought season in Miami, officials have been preparing their game plan for Super Bowl 55.
“You plan for events of this nature for 18 months and in your planning process you look for what you need to secure. It’s not just the event itself its the surrounding area,” Pekoske said.
“We all have a role to play in making the big event a big win for public safety,” McPherson said.
And just as fans will most likely see some audibles called at the line of scrimmage, this massive security operation will also be adapting on the fly to a shifting threat picture.
“You know, threats change all the time and a good plan allows you to adjust things that you had planned to do based on the threats that you are seeing,” Pekoske said.
“We are constantly looking at what happened around the country and not just what happened in D.C. on January 6, but around the world, and see where people have been successful and we compare that against our plan and see what adjustments we need to do,” McPherson said.
While this Super Bowl will be played under unprecedented threat conditions with a national domestic terrorism advisory in place and the COVID-19 pandemic, law enforcement has it covered.
“The only thing we want you to worry about is who will win the game. Please leave the rest of the worrying to us,” McPherson said.
While there has been heightened awareness, it was reiterated by several of the officials during the panel that there is no specific credible threat at the present time, but that they want to be prepared and ready should something happen.