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Federal Agencies Ready for the Super Bowl

By Ed O'Keefe

While most of the nation will focus on the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers when they play in Sunday's 43rd annual Super Bowl (that's XLIII in Roman numerals), some federal agencies will focus on off-field activities. (See The Eye's game predictions below.)

Super Bowl
The Arizona Cardinals face the Pittsburgh Steelers will play this Sunday in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa Bay, Fla.

The Department of Homeland Security has classified the big game as a Special Security Event (SSE), meaning the department and other federal agencies will partner with Tampa Police and Florida state authorities "providing resources and situational awareness," DHS spokesman Sean Smith said. An SSE is different than a National Special Security Event (NSSE), the classification given to last week's Inauguration. An NSSE requires the attendance of political dignitaries and historical, political or symbolic significance that could cause heightened concern for possible terrorist attacks or criminal activity.

Former Arizona governor turned Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will be rooting for her home state Cardinals, but she'll also be on the clock.

“The Secretary has been briefed on arrangements for the Super Bowl and will be in regular contact with officials at all levels of government on the ground managing security for the game," Smith said. "Having just last year hosted one in Arizona, she is familiar with the set up in place." Napolitano will not be in attendance at Sunday's game in Tampa.

In addition to her official Super Bowl duties, Napolitano has placed a dinner bet with Edward Rendell (D-Pa.), the governor of the Steelers' home state. He apologized to Napolitano last month following some Eye-raising remarks about her qualifications for the DHS post.

Separately, the Federal Aviation Administration has taken steps to deal with increased air traffic to the Super Bowl. It expects 1,000 additional aircraft will use Tampa-area airports this weekend and will set flight restrictions around the city on Sunday. It also plans to add extra staff all day Sunday and Monday morning at Tampa Tower to deal with an anticipated higher volume of traffic.

Finally, in a (futile?) attempt to link itself to the nation's largest sporting event, the Department of Agriculture has issued a reminder about food safety that includes some football-themed language.

The USDA urges consumers to "avoid penalties for illegal use of hands" by washing them before handling food and "Ensure your foods are in 'the Red Zone' by using a food thermometer."

We can all hope the football game is better than the USDA's puns.

As for the big game, The Eye, a N.Y. Giants fan, usually avoids sports predictions, but feels pretty confident that the Cardinals -- on a streak of late -- will beat the Steelers by six. What do you think? What do The Eye's Post blogging colleagues think? Find out at The Post's Super Bowl Prediction Page.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 28, 2009; 12:10 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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The average American citizen doesn't need to be footing the bill for these mega-rich sports magnates. Let'm do it themselves.

Posted by: pkbishop | January 28, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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