There were a lot more security officers on the last day at the Metrodome, and officials say they believe beefed up presence was key in keeping looting or rioting from infiltrating the final farewell.
The security detail looked like a small army on Sunday, but in the end, the fan behavior had officials breathing a sigh of relief. When other sporting venues have closed down, people have tried to grab anything and everything as a life-long souvenir, but it was a much different story in Minneapolis.
The extra boots marched out onto Mall of America Field between the third and 4th quarters, a contingent of yellow jackets circling the playing surface and forming an imposing line. The firm responsible for the security added nearly 100 staff members for the game, and Minneapolis police also had additional staff.
Although there were a few reports of problems, all were deemed minor as the fans filed out one last time. Michele Kelm-Helgen, of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, said she believes the increase was a real deterrent for rowdy fans thinking of storming the field.
"I think just the visual of all those yellow coats -- Whalen Security people interspersed with the off-duty Minneapolis police officers, I think it just reminded people of the importance of safety and security and what we were trying to do," she said. "It really helped."
Some fans, like Ron Strychar, did take small trinkets to remember the Dome by.
"Popcorn bucket, souvenir glasses, a flag, my program," he demonstrated.
Most fans stuck to the so-called "legal" keepsakes, but there were a few apparent vandals in the crowd. The backs of several Metrodome seats in section 100 were missing at the end of the game. Others also tried to break off the suit number placards.
A local contractor has been brought in to remove and sell the seats from the Metrodome, so there is still a chance for fans to get their hands on something special to remember the stadium.
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