Security changes may mean longer lines at Soldier Field

Soldier Field ? Football (Soccer) preliminaries and finals.

December 1, 2011 3:19:48 PM PST
Starting Sunday - when the Bears play the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field - the NFL will require teams to step up the security screening of fans.

"There's nothing that we know of, nothing from FBI, Homeland Security or Chicago Police Department that any level is stepped up. At this point in time, I think it is purely an NFL decision," Tim LeFevour, Soldier Field general manger said.

Starting Sunday, the extra screenings will begin at a handful of gates and roll out at the rest in games to come. Bags and purses will still be checked by stadium security. Fans will now be asked to remove all metal from their pockets and hold it in their hand as security staff sweep them with a hand-held metal detector. The goal is to eventually have the procedure replace pat down screenings.

"Some people could bring a lot of dangerous things into the game. I think it's a good, cautious thing to do," Ricky Smith said. "You get patted down everywhere you go these days."

"If it's for the safety of fans, it's a good move. If you're not doing anything wrong you don't have anything to hide. I'm all for it," Sam Stepter said.

"It's bad enough the way it is now to get in there," Matt Doyle said. "It'll be halftime before you get to your seat."

According to the NFL, "evolving security procedures" are prompting the new steps. But teams like the Bears are worried they'll make lines getting into the game very long - especially in the final half hour before kick-off.

"A lot of teams have already started to test it and it's been a very difficult process. The best message is to tell the fans you really need to come early," LeFevour said.

Soldier Field holds 63,000 people. Forty-percent of them wait until the final half-hour before kick-off to head into the game.

Stadium managers warn many people may miss kick-off in the weeks to come unless they allow extra time.

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