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Ravens officials said they were very pleased with how well fans adapted to the NFL's new "All-Clear" bag policy at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday night when the Ravens faced the Atlanta Falcons.
Thursday's game marked the first Ravens home game featuring the new NFL bag policy, under which fans can bring into the stadium only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags that do not exceed 12 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches; gallon zip-top bags; and small women's clutches "approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap."
The policy was put in place leaguewide in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, which were allegedly carried out using pressure cooker bombs hidden in backpacks.
The Ravens worked hard in the days leading up to the game to get word out, and had extra signage and staff on hand outside the stadium to make sure fans did not get to the gate with impermissible items, such as seat cushions, large purses or camera bags.
"It went very well," Ravens vice president of stadium operations Roy Sommerhof said. "We were pleased that the people that came to the game (Thursday), they took notice of what the policies have been from the NFL, and they adhered to those policies."
Sommerhof noted that crowd flow entering at the gates before the game was very good, though he noted that the crowd -- announced at 70,527 -- was not as large as at a typical regular-season game. Ravens season-ticket holders are being sent NFL-approved clear Ravens logo bags, and Sommerhof said once those are in hand, the process should be even smoother.
Still, he expected a few minor "tweaks," such as signage that more clearly differentiates express lanes -- those for fans with no bags at all. But overall, he said, his staff had received few complaints and that the process went about as smoothly as they could have hoped for.
"We didn't see very many bags," he added. "We saw a lot of people, women specifically, bringing small clutch bags or bringing clear bags into the stadium, and so we were very pleased ... that people got the message."