We just finished Week 11 of the NFL season which means that since September, I’ve spent approximately 165 hours watching football, 50 hours watching SportsCenter, 15 hours tailgating, and more time than anyone needs to know analyzing and discussing the nuances of the game.
It also means that I’ve now been to 7 home games at Candlestick (including preseason) and that I’m now an expert on the sham that is the NFL’s Bag Policy. Before I go on, let me be clear that I’ve only experienced the bag policy at 49ers home games. While I had plans to travel to Tennessee, London, and Washington D.C. year, I decided getting a puppy would be much more fun. Which has turned out to be true. Diarrhea and all!
In case you’re not familiar with the NFL Bag Policy, you can check out the article I wrote before the season started in which I expressed my outrage due to the fact that the bag requirements are sexist and unsafe.
The new rules—created for “fan safety”—require the following:
- Bags must be transparent. (Great for showing would-be thieves everything they can steal!)
- Bags must be smaller than 12” x 6” x 12”. (Perfect for that mom who has to lug around diapers and bottles and blankets and jackets and -- well, you get it.)
- Bags cannot contain any smaller opaque bags that are bigger than the size of your palm. This includes camera bags and binocular bags. (Who wants to protect her fancy DSLR camera anyway?)
You can read all of the rules here.
Because I am a season ticket holder, the 49ers did give me a voucher for one free NFL-approved bag. In addition, if you arrive at the game without an approved bag, there are people in the parking lots giving away clear shopping bags. Which assumes you drove to the game and didn’t use public transportation, but I digress.
The joke, of course, is that the new bag policy has done nothing to make stadiums safer. If anything, my personal experience is that they’ve made stadiums far less safe.
In every game but one, I’ve been let through security without so much as a glance at my bag. This, despite the fact that it’s so stuffed with jackets and scarves and whatnot, that it’s impossible to see what’s inside. In fact, (KIDS DON’T DO THIS AT HOME), there’s not a game where I’ve not smuggled in some kind of alcohol. Except this past weekend. When my one can of beer (I really just do it to see if I get caught) was confiscated by security. “Not on my watch,” he congratulated himself as he tossed the PBR into the trash -- and then let me waltz through totally forgetting to scan me with the metal detector wand. (Don’t get me started about the game a few weeks ago where I walked in without showing anyone my ticket).
However, despite the fact that the clear bags haven’t improved fan safety and are mostly inefficient and ineffective, they’re still required.
Which means that if you’re going to an NFL game this year or anytime in the future (which you should because YAY football!), you're going to need a bag that fits the requirements. Plus, the transparent fashion accessory trend is still happening.
When the ban was first announced in June, Vogue was quick to put together a round up of “Sophisticated See-Through Bags for the Stadium.” However, they failed to take in the very strict rules, which state that the bag must be completely clear (not translucent or embellished or clear but also printed or anything else). They also picked a bunch of bags that, even though they're totally covetable, no one in her right mind is going to put on the ground amongst peanut shells and spilled beer.
So what’s a girl to do?
I put together a few options that won’t break the bank. Okay, two of them will, but I couldn't resist.
Totally not fashionable, but super practical.
You can find them at -- WHERE ELSE? -- the NFL Shop. Not that anyone would try to profit on something under the guise of safety, right?
Not into wearing team colors? Amazon has a "clear work handbag" for $14.99. The shape of the bag is cute. Unfortunately, it is still clear.
A clear envelope clutch may seem a little fancy for a football game, but I’ve seen girls in full hair and makeup, teetering in four-inch heels and short shorts, so there’s clearly a market for this:
Personally though, I like this Gold Skull Clutch even better.
How cute would this be for a NY Giants’ fan? (BECAUSE IT'S AN APPLE, GET IT!) Or anyone, really? And yes, it’s totally insane to spend $670 on a bag and then take it to a football game, but eeeek! It’s just so cute.
And if you're going to spend $700 bucks on a bag, why not just go crazy and get a Valentino bag to take to the game. I mean, it's on sale from $1795 and can now be yours for just $1202!
Let's get back to practical options though, shall we? I saved the best for last. My absolute favorite, which is not a bag at all, but a totally cute -- and functional -- SHOLDIT Clutch Wrap purse. I live in SF where it’s basically scarf weather all year round and I also happen to hate carrying a bag, so this scarf is a lifesaver.
Basically: it’s an infinity scarf, that’s also a purse. It has hidden pockets that are big enough to fit your phone, cards, cash, lip gloss, bottle of vodka, whatever.
And it can be worn as a single loop, wrapped twice around the neck (my preferred style), a cross-body wrap, or even a shoulder wrap (which I love with dresses). It even zips up into a clutch for when you take it off at a bar or a party.
I know I sound a little crazy about this scarf, but I’m seriously obsessed. I will never travel again without packing one -- the perfect way to keep your valuables hidden and close to your body. Trust me.
So yeah, the new NFL Bag Policy is a bummer. Not just because it's sexist and unsafe, but because it doesn't even work. But if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And once you're inside, pull out that airplane bottle of vodka you were hiding in your scarf. Cheers!
Have you had to deal with the NFL Bag Policy at a game this year? What was your experience like? And how many of your expensive bags end up on dirty stadium or bar room floors?