So, yes, a key rule in pro football changed last year and is still wreaking a little havoc: the size of the bag you’re allowed to bring into the stadium.
We hear last Sunday’s Panthers game at Bank of America Stadium was a bit of a hot mess, with gate officials barring bags that women insisted they brought in last year, and what are you talking about, it’s too big, and what is the deal?
Well, the deal is that the largest opaque bag you can bring in can barely hold a cellphone and a credit card: It must be smaller than 4 1/2 by 6 1/2 inches. That’s the same size as last year; Panthers guest relations assistant Becky Nelson said the first few games are tricky, as people figure it out. So pull out your ruler before leaving for Sunday night’s home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now, if you’re thinking you need a bigger bag, yes: You can have one, as long as it’s made of clear plastic, PVC or vinyl and is not more than 12 by 12 by 6 inches. In helpful fashion, in case a ruler is not nearby but your newspaper is, a single Observer print page, folded in half, forms a rough square 11 by 11 1/4 inches. So if your clear bag is bigger by more than about an inch: Uh oh.
One option is the classically stylish 1-gallon clear plastic freezer bag. No, really: The NFL websites spell this out (with the helpful parenthetical “Ziploc bag or similar”). Nelson calls it “highly recommended.”
The stadium store sells approved totes for 5 bucks, and a store employee assures us they stock “plenty.” A lineup of NFL-approved options, from messenger bags to backpacks, is at nflshop.com/allclear for about $10 to $20. But perhaps you aspire to a non-Panther-emblazoned bag? Take a look at these:
For $10 to $30, lots at clear-handbags.com.
For $55 on Amazon, an all-clear tote. (Please ignore the obnoxious product description.)
Want all the rules spelled out for you? Go to www.panthers.com and scroll to “Prohibited Items.” There’s even a video.