How safe are Michigan football games?

Submitted by 1464 on April 18th, 2013 at 10:51 PM

I know there will be people who will think this is pretty reactionary to the Boston Marathon.  Those events did prompt me to post this, but I've always thought that this topic should get some conversation.

So how safe are Michigan football games?

We all know that on any given Saturday, our favorite stadium holds more people than any other facility in the country.  It's announced every gameday.  Now, I'm not one to get shaky before going to the mall.  I think that parents who see school shootings have reason to be concerned, but that it's hugely unlikely anything would happen to their local school.  But Michigan Stadium is different.  Large crowds accumulate all the time, but ours are scheduled and frequent and really, really large.

As evidence that something could happen, I give a specific example.  My uncle has season tickets to Michigan football games.  He also has Asberger's.  He is a very smart, kind person, but also prone to erratic and very offputting behavior.  Like the time he smuggled a sack of potatoes into Michigan Stadium to taunt Notre Dame fans.  He shouted obsenities about the potato famine for the duration of the game.  The ticket scanner wouldn't have let him in with a sack of potatoes.  No problem.  He just pushed them through the wrought iron fence and collected them afterwards.  You can connect the dots with where I am going.

So I pose this, is it ridiculous and inflammatory to have some concern about going to football games?  Will something happen?  Unlikely.  But could it?  I guess by begging the question, I am asking for some dialogue on the subject. Should security by heightened at Michigan Stadium, not as a knee jerk reaction to current events, but as an admittance that the world is offering many more risks that it has in the past?  Or is this just increased awareness of a very real but probably minimal threat?


EDIT: After going 0-5 on the the voting, I vowed not to look at this thread.  I suppose I'll just throw on my tinfoil hat and take my lumps...



April 19th, 2013 at 10:12 AM ^

Statistically, you have a higher risk of having a stroke while masturbating,(1:125,000) than from a terrorist attack, (1:1,700,000).  But, I doubt that will stopp anyone.

Also, 87% of all statistics are made up.



April 19th, 2013 at 3:19 PM ^

Maybe I suck at statistics but one out of every 125,000 time you masturbate you SHOULD die?   I don't believe it.  I have to have wacked off at least 375,000 times and I'm still here...



April 19th, 2013 at 10:29 AM ^

 I'm part irish, hell a lot of people are irish.  just doesnt make sense to me, lets mock the fighting irish because of a famine that happened in ireland and people suffered from.


April 19th, 2013 at 11:01 AM ^

because it's a very legitimate question. Michigan stadium is the largest stadium in the US for a sport that sees millions of people attend around the country every Saturday. I think it's a fairly obvious target for terrorists, don't you?

There's security there sure, but I've snuck a potbelly's sandwich in before and I know people get water bottles, fifths, etc in. It wouldn't be that hard to get some kind of IED in there. I am decently concerned



April 19th, 2013 at 1:34 PM ^

I agree Red, this is a legit conversation. I understand that the odds of dying in a terrorist attack are miniscule, but these stats are talking about day-to-day life. If you try to think like a terrorist (which is impossible for us Americans) a major sporting event seems like an obvious target. High concentration of people, likely national television, and would have a major impact on our lives if we no longer felt safe at sporting events. I feel fairly confident about security during the games, but what's to prevent someone from placing some sort of bomb the night before? I'd hope they'd do a sweep of the stadium the morning of the games, but I have no idea if they do. I do think there are other stadiums that are better targets because 75% of Michigan stadium in underground.

I don't think the OP should just be brushed aside as a tin foil hat paranoid. It is a legit issue that is hopefully being taken very seriously (and it appears it is). I rather enjoy my life and hope to have a lot of it left and don't want to consistently put myself in perilious situations for the sake of "YOLO." All that being said, I certainly plan to be at every game this fall, so YOLO it is.


April 19th, 2013 at 3:13 PM ^

you can't stand on top of a lightning rod in a thunderstorm and say "There's a 1 in a million chance of dying in a thunderstorm! Whats the big deal?!"

Likewise, you cant go to the largest stadium in America and say "Theres a 1 in a million chance of being killed by a terrorist! Whats the big deal?!" because the odds aren't even everywhere. You're more likely to get killed by a terrorist at nationally recognizable places and Michigan Stadium is one of those places


April 19th, 2013 at 11:07 AM ^

I think the security is interesting to think about. On the one hand, there are lots of rules - no bags, etc. - but it's really really easy to get around those rules. I've been with multiple people who have put sizable bags under their coats and gone in a busy gate, and there is no second look. If you wanted to get something in, it's pretty easy. On the other hand, last year I was in the student section behind a guy that was sitting with his head in his hands for the 3rd quarter, while the rest of us stood, and he appeared to be alone. He wasn't noteable for any other reason. Midway through the quarter, two police officers came to talk to him, ask for his ID, etc. How he was identified among the thousands of people, I have no idea, but they have some way of detecting abberant behavior. FWIW, I think he had a fight with his girlfriend, and wasn't a terrorist - I saw him at a later game, standing and cheering with her.


April 19th, 2013 at 12:27 PM ^

I get that people are nervous, but just for perspective far more people will likely be killed by a fertilizer plant's explosion in the west of Texas than will this attack.  I am not making light of either tragedy, but I just want to point out that horrible things can happen anywhere, at any time, for any reason.  Going to a football game is a very safe event, but obviously there are risks beyond terrorism and accidents.  You can't live your life in a bubble.


April 19th, 2013 at 2:42 PM ^

How safe is the Super Bowl?  It's the most-watched event in the United States every year.  If terrorists are going to target a sporting event, I'm sure it's high on their list.  But that's also why it has crazy levels of security.  Terrorists, as a rule, go for "soft" targets.  




April 20th, 2013 at 5:57 AM ^

As others have pointed out, it would be easier for a terrorist to kill people outside than inside a stadium, though if a terrorist were able to get people to panic, with say several small explosives, there would be a possibility of death and injuries due to people stampeding.

There was a case at the Universit of Oklahoma in 2005 where a guy suffering from depression and mental illness set off a bomb and killed himself outside the OU football stadium just before halftime at the Kansas football game.  Spectators weren't allowed to leave the stadium at half time and latert there were announcements over the PA that advised people that certain exits to the stadium were closed, and to avoid the area of campus where the guy killed himself but no mention about a bomb was made, out of fear of creating panic.