Denver Broncos to unveil new game day metal detectors, encourage early fan arrival
By Johnny Hart
|Photo courtesy of the Denver Broncos.|
Ahead of Saturday’s preseason tilt with the San Francisco 49ers, the Denver Broncos are encouraging fans to well ahead of the 7 p.m. MDT kickoff as the club rolls out 93 new walk-through metal detectors at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Scott Bliek, assistant general manager of Sports Authority Field at Mile High, said in a press release that fans should “allow plenty of time to enter the stadium” as the new security procedures are implemented.
However, Bliek said earlier this week he doesn’t anticipate any delays because of the high number of walk-through devices.
With the new magnetometers (metal detectors), security will no longer use hand wands and pat downs on Broncos fans entering the stadium, with the end goal of being more efficient and less intrusive.
Bliek said that the new metal detectors should increase the flow of fans into the building while simultaneously beefing up security.
“With this process, we let the machines do the work instead of letting the man-power do the work,” Bliek said. “We should be able to speed the process up as they come into the building on game day and enhance the experience that they have when they come to the building.”
The Broncos are implementing the system ahead of a league security mandate to install the devices at all NFL stadiums. Sports Authority Field will join the list of Denver venues with metal detectors that include Pepsi Center and Coors Field.
“We’ve chosen to start now and get ahead of the curve,” Bliek said. “We think it’s going to be a better experience for our fans. Why wait to go through two more seasons to make the jump?”
Fans will only be asked to remove large metal objects –– cell phones, cameras, etc. –– and won’t be required to remove smaller items like belts or keys. Those with special medical equipment will undergo separate screening.
Those who set off the detectors will be required to step through a second time. If the machine goes off again, security staff will give them a secondary screening.
But in the end, the measures, Bliek said, will not only increase overall security, but also appease fans who have been calling for faster lines and less hassle.
“This is really more about a safety factor, but at the same time, we’ve heard from the fans that they want us to be less intrusive. They want the lines to go quicker. They want to come in faster,” Bliek said.
“This should be able to give us that nice balance of being able to be more secure and increasing their experience as they come to the building so that we can get them in quicker and get them to their seat.”
Elway: Evan Mathis signing 'nothing to do' with Max Garcia's play
By Johnny Hart
Max Garcia did nothing wrong.
All he did was go from fourth round pick to camp darling to Denver Broncos starting left guard as a rookie.
Tuesday, Max Garcia lost his starting job. And it wasn’t his fault.
“Max has got a tremendous career ahead of him,” Broncos general manager John Elway said Thursday. “We’re really excited about Max. This had nothing to do with the way Max was playing. It was just more of we thought we needed a little bit more experience up there.”
That boost in experience comes from 11-year veteran, two-time Pro Bowler and former All-Pro guard Evan Mathis, who signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Broncos Tuesday afternoon.
“I think with Evan there, he’ll play great, but it will make us better on the offensive line with more experience. It’ll be great for those young guys to learn from him,” Elway said.
Until Tuesday, the club had deployed the baby blockers theory on the left side of its offensive line, including Garcia at guard, fellow rookie Ty Sambrailo at left tackle, and 2014 practice squad center Matt Paradis in the middle.
By no fault of his own, Garcia will now be relegated to second team duty as a swing guard/center.
Mathis, who finished 2014 as Pro Football Focus’ top-ranked left guard, will fill that veteran role while beefing up the offensive line.
“I talked to Max first thing yesterday and explained to him that it wasn’t about anything he’s done,” head coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday after practice. “It’s about us having a chance to get a great player and improve our football team.”
Garcia, to his credit, is taking the demotion in stride, telling our ESPN Denver Broncos Insider and 9News reporter Mike Klis he doesn’t want people to feel sorry for him.
: “I’m happy to be a part of this team. I’m content with the situation I’m just going to keep striving to get better.”
Fans will get to see Garcia in the starting role for at least another week, however.
Despite Saturday’s preseason Game Three against the San Francisco 49ers being a dress rehearsal for starters, Kubiak said Mathis would not play.
“I think that’d be too much to ask. That wouldn’t be very smart on my part,” Kubiak said. “I’m not going to do that. He might suit up, but he’s not going to play. I can tell you that.”
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