The Super Bowl is going to be blanketed with security, and Taylor Swift’s likely appearance is heightening some protocols.
The Super Bowl gets a SEAR rating (Special Event Assessment Rating) of one every year. The ratings range from one through five, with one requiring the most security. An event beyond that would be considered a National Special Security Event (NSSE).
And only one Super Bowl has reached that status. It was the 2002 Super Bowl, just five months after 9/11.
This year’s Super Bowl isn’t reaching NSSE levels despite the star power in Las Vegas, but Homeland Security and other law enforcement do have to plan extra for Swift.
Swift will likely be in attendance for the game since she is dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, and extra measures will have to be taken, former Secret Service agent Jim Morgan said.
Morgan worked in the Secret Service 24 years before founding Concentric Advisors, a risk management firm that provides security services and intelligence solutions.
An expert in security for several NSSE’s, including six of President Obama’s inauguration balls in 2009, Morgan says Swift’s anticipated attendance will add several wrinkles.
However, it’s not simply because of her status as an A-list celebrity. Instead, her relationship with Travis Kelce is making security do extra planning.
“She, more than any other VIP, will likely move through this event space, from the suite, to the field, to the locker room. She may even want to talk to Usher. There’s really a logistical challenge for her team and for the event to move in and out through these different secure areas,” Morgan told Fox News Digital in a recent interview.
Security also needs to plan specifically for Swift because her plans will likely change based on the result of the game.
If the Chiefs win, Swift will likely celebrate on the field as she did after the AFC title game, potentially in the locker room and elsewhere. If the Chiefs lose, Swift can go right home.
“There’s also an element that fans will likely not exit when the game is over because they’ll want to see if she goes onto the field,” Morgan said. “Those are the unknowns, and that’s the challenge for the teams to plan. What that looks like whether her boyfriend wins or loses and where she ends up after the game.”
Security will be heightened no matter what. Morgan says fans will notice an increase in security because of the game’s magnitude, not necessarily because of Swift’s attendance.
And security doesn’t start or end with just the game.
“It’s not just the Super Bowl. Locals and state are involved in other venues that are hosting parties for the Super Bowl and events surrounding the teams. The SEAR 1 event isn’t just the Super Bowl itself, but some of the events surrounding the Super Bowl,” says Morgan.
The SEAR 1 classification itself brings in extra measures, as well, even for the regulars.
“One of the things that happens at an event like this that doesn’t happen at any regular game is credentialing,” said Morgan. “Logistics and credentialing tend to be the most challenging aspects of a large event, and credentialing is mandatory at a SEAR 1 event. Everyone from vendors to VIP, they all have to have certain credentials, which restricts access to certain areas. And that’s where the challenge comes for the VIPs and the talent when you’re having to move them around in and out of these different secure areas.”
Obviously, Swift won’t be the only big-time celebrity at the game, so it’s all hands on deck for plenty of others. Keep in mind the entire rosters, coaching staffs and team employees to go along with the dozens of celebrities. Morgan says private planes are already being rerouted to other airports because of the amount of VIPs that could be present.
“They need to know how to get in from the outer perimeter, what credentials we need, where we drop off, where we stage our vehicle, what the path is to a suite, what elevators we use, how many people we can actually take inside. There’s a lot of things that go into the coordination for VIPs,” Morgan said.
The Super Bowl between the Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers kicks off Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.