The Robotics of NFL Security

February 11, 2011
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Arlington, Texas- The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers weren’t the only ones who were ready for the Super Bowl, as security teams prepared for one of the biggest terrorist threat days of the year. However, having electronically controlled robots are becoming more prominent in the field of security at major sporting events and features.

The uses of scans, robots, and pat-downs have created a substantial amount of controversy after they were greatly implemented in airports. Especially after 9/11, every major event, including sporting events, has used these tactics in order to provide safety. Super Bowl XLV was not an exception. “We can send these robots directly in. If the worst case happens, we lost part of a robot,” said Brian McCarthy, the director of corporate communications for the NFL, in an interview with Robots are not the only ones involved, though. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, indicated that millions of dollars were invested into the security of the new Cowboys Stadium, which was built in 2009, in an interview with

The two major robots that were used at Super Bowl XLV were the HD-1 and the F5. The HD-1, which was donated by Northrop Grumman, started to be used in 2008. According to, it was designed in order to dispose of explosives, and has the ability to climb up stairs and fit into tight spaces. Because of these features, the HD-1 is a valuable part of the security team, as it can go where humans cannot and keep everyone safe. The F5 is a bit larger, but is powerful enough to pull a trailer hitch. Also, it is possible to set the F5 up with cameras and microphones, making it a valuable tool in hostage situations. Both of these are at the full control of the Arlington Fire Department, which is more than ready for the task. “We’ve got redundancy built into this. We have planned and planned and planned,” said Milt Ahlerich, vice president of security for the NFL, in an interview with

These robots are not the only thing that the security at the Super Bowl had up its sleeve. There is also an unmanned aerial vehicle with cameras that is able to swoop into the stadium and find the problem that it was sent to solve, such as a bomb or explosive device. Robots are not the only types of security used, however. “We’ve got all kinds of equipment pre-staged,” said Stephen Lea, the assistant fire marshal of the Arlington Fire Department, in an interview with Although this year’s Super Bowl is over, planning and preparation for next year’s at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is already in full swing. That is, of course, if there is not a lockdown for the 2012 season, which is decided on March 4th if a decision is not made between owners and players.

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