Super Bowl XLVIII live updates: Fans pouring into MetLife Stadium

 Full Coverage: Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium

4:30 p.m.: Tailgaiting with a twist

As Giants season ticket holders, tailgating at MetLife Stadium before the Super Bowl was only slightly different than during regular games for Tom Zimmermann and Matt McDowell, who grew up together in North Arlington.

The two kept their lawn chairs close to their sport utility vehicle and within as much of the parking space as they could.

Then again, it’s usually the two of them tailgating at games so that was nothing different.

Photos: Super Bowl XLVIII – North Jersey scenes

Neither was the beer and deli sandwiches since they don’t typically bring a grill.

stadiumdngnk_small Super Bowl XLVIII live updates: Fans pouring into MetLife Stadium

“We’re just happy to be here,” McDowell said. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet. I think it will when we get inside and see people wearing shirts from different teams all over the place.”

Zimmermann said he was routing for Denver because of the Manning connection with Eli Manning being the Giants quarterback and Peyton Manning being the Broncos’ quarterback.

— Karen Sudol

4:25 p.m.: On Big Game day, thoughts of pee-wee football

The Super Bowl is typically a time to cheer big men in big shoulder pads playing on one of the biggest stages in sports. But as John Salo stood in the beer tent at the Meadowlands Tailgate Party Sunday afternoon, a blue aluminum can of Bud Lite in each hand, his thoughts were on a slightly smaller game.

Pee-wee, to be exact.

“I coach the Wildcats pee-wee football team. We will hit anyone, anytime,” said Salo, 43, a Carstadt resident. “And we will hit them hard.”

Let Seahawks fans talk smack about Eli Manning’s diminished arm strength. Let Broncos fans deride the Seahawks defense as overrated. And let New Jersey fans bemoan the fact that neither the Jets nor the Giants will be playing with the home field advantage in the Super Bowl.

Kevin Salo takes pride in a much smaller team. Shorter, too. Players on the pee-wee Wildcats are between the ages of 9 and 11.

And if any other nine to eleven year olds challenge them, Salvo firmly believes, the Wildcats will kick their butts.

“We’re the best team in the league,” he said, referring of course to the pee-wee Meadowlands Football League, or MFL. “We’ve only lost three games in the last two seasons.

Is Salo excited about a slightly larger game that’s about to take place in the Meadowlands? Not especially.

Super Bowl or no Super Bowl, doesn’t matter,” he said. “We’re the best.”

— Christopher Maag

4:20 p.m.: For Jersey city man, a chance to be ‘Super Mann’

Greg Giordano was supposed to go skiing in Vermont this weekend. But when he realized it was Super Bowl Sunday, the Jersey City resident bailed on his friends and bought a single ticket to the game. (At $2,000 per ticket, he could only afford to buy one — this one for a corner end-zone seat.)

And for one day, Giordano won’t go by the name his mother gave him. No, today, he is “Super Mann.” Dressed in an orange cape with Peyton Manning’s jersey stitched on, plus a faux six-pack stomach, Giordano, with blue paint on his face, has transformed into a super hero.

“I’m a big Peyton Manning fan,” said Giordano, who got the idea for his outfit from a New York Post cover of the Broncos quarterback with the headline “Super Mann.”

“I was just going to make it a simple thing. It ended up being a big project,” he said of his outfit, which turned a lot of heads and inspired strangers to run up and take selfies with him. He even got hi-fives from Seahawk-clad fans.

— Linh Tat

4:15 p.m. Security checkpoints move steadily at MetLife Stadium

Throughout the afternoon, fans steadily moved through the half a dozen or so welcome pavilions that were set up to usher people through security through heated tents. Those pavilions closest to the train station were packed with lines inside and out that while long, moved quickly.

In Pavilion Five, a DJ blasted music to pump up the waiting crowds, yelling at times, “Seahawks in the house!” that generated a booming “Whoo!!” response.

Fans were handed towels stamped with each team’s logos.

Even though fans had to wait to be patted down, empty their pockets of electronics and walk through metal detectors, it didn’t seem to deflate their moods.

“It took a while but I’m glad they’re taking it so seriously,” said Lee Bertheau, a Seahawks fan who lives in Vancouver, Washington.

Bertheau and his wife, Marcy, spent less than 30 minutes to get from the pavilion entrance through security.

“They’re thorough and easy and everybody’s been so nice,” said Patrick Lujan, a Broncos fan who traveled with his wife, Candiss from Greeley, Colo. to see the game.

“The hardest part so far was getting on the train (at Secaucus Junction),” Candiss Lujan said. “There were too many people in one place.

— Karen Sudol

4:10 p.m.: NJ Transit trains back on track after delays

New Jersey Transit trains are back on schedule after some earlier Super Bowl delays.

NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder says all lines but Atlantic City rail were running 20 to 30 minutes behind schedule because of Super Bowl congestion. But the trains were back on track by 4 p.m.

Snyder says the delays were not affecting the rail shuttle between Secaucus and MetLife Stadium because they are loading the cars and going when filled.

The Secaucus station handled 13,500 passengers between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Things have quieted down at Penn Station in New York, after a flood of game-goers in the early afternoon led to long lines and packed trains. NJ Transit employees are directing visitors, some of whom have been confused about where to buy tickets, to trains.

 — The Associated Press and staff writer Rebecca D. O’Brien

4:05 p.m.: Cheers for both teams at Hoboken path

It’s one final round of cheering for Seattle fans at the Hoboken train station: “Sea-Hawks! Sea-Hawks! Sea-Hawks!”
Earlier today, Seahawks fan Krystal Boss recounted hitting up the Carlow East bar on the Upper East Side last night for for some pre-game celebrations. Carlow East is known as a go-to bar for Seahawks fans.
“There were a few confused Broncos in there, but it’s alright, we were nice to them,” chuckled Boss, who had flown in from Seattle on Friday night.
Meanwhile, Broncos fan Allison Olien, of Colorado, talked up her team. Had it snowed today, she said, the Broncos would have been more prepared to play under the severe weather conditions.
“They [Seattle] have a little rain,” she said. “We’ve got snow.”

 — Linh Tat

4 p.m.: Secaucus station proves challenging for some riders

Super Bowl ticket-holders welcomed the festive scene at Secaucus Junction where chants broke out:


But for everyone else, it was a bit of a challenge.

“It’s rough,” one man said when he finally broke through the ticket gates and was free to go look for his family.

Rachel Therres was trying to get back to Manhattan, but her normal gate was changed to accommodate fans. NJ Transit ambassadors guided her to the opposite end of the station to catch her train.

“I wish I would have gone to Hoboken and gone to NY from there,” she said.

There has been one major glitch. Around 2 p.m., passengers from three separate trains converged at Secaucus Junction, causing a massive jam in the corridor leading to tracks 2 and 3 that left people stuck for more than an hour.

Elia Ramirez, 74, of Commerce City, Colorado, was exasperated as she plopped down on a bench at Secaucus, her silver Broncos earrings swinging wildly as she shook her head and tried to gather herself.

Ramirez said he was trapped in the gridlock for more than an hour and desperately needed to use a restroom, but couldn’t move. “We were stuck in that corridor, wall-to-wall people,” she said, clinging to her plastic bag of Broncos paraphernalia.

She lost track of her family – her ex-son-in-law, his new wife and his brother. “I was crunched, shoulder to shoulder.”

Ramirez lost her family in the crowd and when she reached them by phone, learned they were on the train to MetLife. NJ Transit staff, notified of her troubles, escorted her to a train so she could get to the game.

“I’m a die hard fan she said,” straightening her Broncos scarf around her neck.

— Karen Rouse

3:45 p.m.: Mild weather greets Super Bowl fans at stadium

As fans started to file into the stadium before the game, many didn’t even wear jackets: A sweatshirt under a jersey was plenty. The temperature was in the low 50s under cloudy skies with a few raindrops, though snow in the forecast could make it tough for out-of-towners to make it home Monday.

Players in shorts warmed up on the field, and TV commentators stood around in their sport coats.

The record low for a Super Bowl appears safe — 34 degrees in 1972 in New Orleans, a mere 1,000 miles south of East Rutherford.

— The Associated Press

3:30 p.m.: Super Bowl fans collapse at crowded NJ junction

Several people have collapsed in an overcrowded Secaucus train station while waiting in long lines to get to the Super Bowl.

Emergency medical workers pushed their way through the overheated crowd to treat the people at Secaucus Junction on Sunday afternoon.

Long lines have come to a standstill in front of airport-style security machines that apparently cannot handle the crowd volume. People were squeezed together in an enclosed stairwell.

As more trains arrived, police tried to thin the sweating, jostling crowd by spreading people across the platform.

Initial fan calls of “Seahawks” and “Broncos” gave way to angry shouts of “New Jersey, your Super Bowl sucks!”

— The Associated Press

3:15 p.m.: Volunteers greet riders at Hoboken PATH station

 Trains are running on time at the Hoboken PATH station. Currently, there are more volunteers and workers standing around the station than passengers waiting to get to the game. (Most fans departed on earlier trains.)
Even the volunteers and workers have gotten into the spirit, with some running up to fans wearing outlandish costumes and taking pictures on their cellphones.

The volunteers are easy to identify in their bright yellow jackets, and a few fans commented earlier on how smoothly mass transit has been operating and how easy it is to find someone to answer their questions.

— Linh Tat

3 p.m.: Party-like setting greets fans on stadium arrival

There’s a party-like atmosphere in the security pavilion where disembarking train passengers are being screened.

DJs manning a booth overlooking the security line are playing everything from Jay-Z to Frank Sinatra, occasionally hyping up an already-amped crowd. As fans exit, they’re given hand warmers stamped with the NFL Super Bowl logo.

Many early-arriving out-of-town visitors to MetLife Stadium were pleasantly surprised by the ease of entry.

“Getting in was a lot better than you’d expect,” said Erica Daniels of Denver of their bus ride from Manhattan.

She and friend Bryce Vetter said they arrived in Manhattan on Thursday night, and Vetter described the weekend experience as “amazing.”

Seahawks fan Lonnie Ells said he anticipated a long wait at Secaucus Junction, where the first train left at 1:35 p.m.

“And I thought it would be much tougher to get past security, too,” said Ells, who hails from Washington state.

The heightened security measures imposed on train passengers Sunday were being met with shrugs and even some praise from fans.

“It’s been an excellent trip,” said Seattle resident William Bell, who boarded the first train out of Secaucus Junction Sunday afternoon. “It was no problem at all…Everybody who planned this did an excellent job.”

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