League suggests no security changes

Updated: November 25, 2004, 12:12 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

In the wake of last week's NBA basketbrawl, NFL coaches have reminded their players of the need for restraint, and issued public statements about how little tolerance they will have for anything remotely resembling the Detroit Pistons-Indiana Packers donnybrook.

Now the league has reminded all 32 of its franchises, via memo, of the guidelines for security in NFL stadiums.

The memo, sent Wednesday by commissioner Paul Tagliabue, does not outline or suggest any new security measures. In fact, the NFL hasn't felt the need to expand its security measures since just after the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001. The memo does note that the NFL is not immune to fan violence and that the safety of players and patrons is uppermost.

"Our history ... is not free of such incidents," read the memo, in part.

A league source said there has been "considerable discussion" of the NBA incident in the league offices. There has also been dialogue, he said, between Tagliabue and owners, and also with representatives of the NFL Players Association.

Those discussions reinforced the belief that the NFL is doing about everything possible to ensure the safety of fans and players and that no new precautions are necessary. Security is arranged, in the NFL, by the home teams. The measures vary from stadium to stadium but all meet league guidelines.

In the memo, Tagliabue also reminded teams in cold-weather sites about attempting to clear snow from stadiums and about the league's mandate on discontinuing beer sales by the end of the third quarter. There have been several incidents in the past in which fans used snow or ice as projectiles, and in which players or support personnel were injured.

Two owners reached late Wednesday said they felt the memo was necessary given all the attention surrounding the NBA battle. One owner noted, though, that players and fans "are going to be more aware than ever now" of the need for restraint.

Even before the memo, coaches spent much of the week lecturing players about their responsibilities, and warning them of the consequences of any imprudent actions.

"We're not going to put up with it, because it takes away from what this is all about," said Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis. "You want to be tough? Well, let's see how tough you are [before] the whistles."

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.