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Police officers patrol the walkways of Westgate City Center, which is across the street from University of Phoenix Stadium.

Editor’s note: Eagle-Tribune sportswriters Bill Burt and Hector Longo, reporter J.J. Huggins and photographer Paul Bilodeau are in Glendale, Ariz., to cover the Patriots’ buildup to Super Bowl XLII and the doings of local fans who have made the trip.



GLENDALE, Ariz. — They wear bulletproof vests, walk in groups and preach a simple message.

“Go out and have fun, but do it responsibly,” Glendale police Officer Matt Barnett said yesterday, as his department beefed up street patrols in anticipation of the tens of thousands of fans who will descend on this desert city for the Super Bowl.

As fans trickled in yesterday and last night — the majority are expected to arrive today and tomorrow — the police presence became more visible, with officers hired from nearby towns bolstering the local force.

There were also plenty of signs that Glendale was planning on throwing a monster party leading up to Sunday’s game between the Patriots and Giants.

Restaurants and bars are stocking up on beer, liquor and food. Bar owners talk of plans to have two Budweiser trucks parked nearby to keep the flow of beer steady.

“I ordered 64 cases of liquor today, which is insane because we’re housing it in the manager’s office and on top of coolers and stuff,” said Shaun Potter, bar manager of Fox Sports Grill, which is across the street from the University of Phoenix Stadium where the game will be played.

Fox Sports Grill is advertising a game-day offer for $450 that includes all the food you can eat — including a prime rib dinner — and beer you can drink — complete with 45 big-screen TVs for watching the game. There will even be swimsuit models mingling with the crowd. Cleveland Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards is hosting the pregame, gametime and after party.

People who don’t want to shell out the $450 for the all-day eating and drinking festivities can pay $160 to go only to the after party from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., Potter said.

The bar will sit 500 people between their indoor and outdoor seating on game day. It’s expected to be filled to capacity.

So how does someone prepare to run a bar across the street from the biggest sporting event in America? They order beer.

“We ordered probably about 60 kegs for the next two days,” Potter said yesterday.

Other bars in the area of Glendale’s Sports and Entertainment complex are either charging small cover charges or no cover charges. The staff at all of the establishments expects a wall-to-wall crowd Sunday.

“We’ve probably got 30 or 40 cases of Bud Light,” said Glen Vick, security manager at Hell’s Half Acre.

They will be giving patrons cans of beer at that bar, or bartenders will pour it into plastic cups. The staff does not want hundreds of rowdy fans holding bottles, Vick said.

“You don’t want glass floating around,” he said.

Fans are mainly sticking to three places: Glendale, Phoenix and Scottsdale. Glendale is sort of an up-and-coming city. It’s on the edge of the Phoenix metropolitan area and has been the site of sprawling development in recent years. Phoenix is a big city with a well-kept downtown, and Scottsdale is the swanky city where people go out to eat in upscale restaurants and bars.

As the party goes on and picks up steam, the NFL is turning its eyes toward heavy security for game day. “A cast of thousands” of police and military personnel will be on hand at the Super Bowl, a league spokesman said yesterday.

Military, police and security workers will provide security at the stadium, spokesman Brian McCarthy said. He said he couldn’t even begin to put an exact number on the number of personnel that will be there.

“Literally, a cast of thousands,” he said.

This is the biggest sporting event in the country, and the nation is in a post-Sept. 11 world, he said. There will be local police from around the region, Secret Service, FBI, ATF, the Army, the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines, he said.

The NFL is even hiring three private security firms to assist.

The NFL is increasing its security screening for fans entering the game. Fans will be patted down and will walk through metal detectors. NFL officials recommend fans arrive early. The stadium gates open at noon.

Temporary flight restrictions will prohibit private aircraft from flying around the stadium, according to the NFL.

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