EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The record number of Super Bowl fans who used New Jersey Transit to get to the Super Bowl are facing delays trying to get home.
After Sunday’s game, fans converged on the rail station for the return trip, clogging the platform as trains loaded and left when full. NJ Transit says a second platform has been opened to accommodate the crowds.
At MetLife Stadium, an announcement on the scoreboard asked fans to please stay in the stadium due to congestion at the platform. New Jersey State Police urged fans via Twitter to “enjoy the stadium atmosphere until congestion dissipates.”
Organizers had dubbed this the first mass-transit Super Bowl and had urged fans to leave their cars at home or at their hotels.
After nearly four years of speculation and consternation about a Super Bowl played outdoors in the Northeast, unseasonably warm temperatures settled over MetLife Stadium as fans watched the NFL title game in sweatshirts and light winter wear amid a jubilant atmosphere.
The temperature was 49 degrees at kickoff for the first Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium in a cold-weather city. Players in shorts warmed up on the field and TV commentators mingled in their sport coats.
Through the first three quarter, Seattle fans had plenty to cheer about and broke out in spontaneous chants as the Seahawks raced to a seemingly insurmountable 28-point lead.
“This is amazing,” said Molly Boyle, 27, a Seattle fan who lives in New York City. “I couldn’t wish for a better ending for our team.”
Meanwhile, Denver Broncos fans were sulking. Justin Mitchell, 26, a construction salesman from Colorado Springs, Co., put it simply: “I’m depressed,” he said. “But I’m at the Super Bowl.”
He tried to find a silver lining, optimistically playing up the experience of seeing a Super Bowl with his two brothers and dad.
“Just being here with my family is pretty sweet,” he said. “The experience as a whole has been amazing.”
Nearly 28,000 people crammed onto New Jersey Transit’s trains, setting a ridership record that easily surpassed the previous mark of 22,000 in 2009 for a U2 concert. Security was slow at train stations, but by 5:15 p.m., a little more than an hour before kickoff, 80,000 folks had already made it into the stadium. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said it was the earliest arriving Super Bowl crowd in at least 30 years.
At an average New York Giants or New York Jets game, about 8,000 people take the trains.
New Jersey police said four people were arrested during the game, including two arrests for unlicensed vendors, one for drunken disorderly conduct and one for trespassing.