For the military, the Super Bowl is not just about football. Fighter jets from the Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command Region will be at next Sunday's game to protect the skies above the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
According to Pentagon officials, air defense practices are expected to begin in the greater East Rutherford area this week. The exercises, which are closely controlled and planned, will consist of a series of training flights in coordination with various other national and regional agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, Customs and Border Protection, Civil Air Patrol, the FBI and CONR's Eastern Air Defense Sector.
"There are a lot of interagency partners involved in the air defense of this year's Super Bowl," said CONR commander and Air Force Lt. Gen. William H. Etter. "With multiple agencies involved, coordination between all air-defense partners is crucial. This exercise allows all of the interagency partners to come together before the game to hone their air defense skills and ensure communications are working properly."
CONR fighters have responded to more than 5,000 possible air threats in the U.S. since 9/11. Etter stated that Super Bowl Sunday is just another day that CONR personnel are "making sure our skies are safe."