The Super Bowl is coming to this lush and lovely city, full of magnificent homes, verdant gardens and tree-lined streets. On Sunday, however it will be filled mostly with people.
That is nothing unusual for the 112,000 residents. Last Saturday, 1 1/2 million folks clogged the streets to watch the annual Tournament of Roses parade, and then 106,000 filed into the Rose Bowl to see Southern Cal defeat Michigan.
The city survived. City leaders say they are not quite so sure what will happen when another 100,000-plus crowd of professional football fans file toward the Rose Bowl to watch the Vikings and Raiders play a football game.
"We've never had an NFL crowd in here before," said John McAlister, a spokesman for the Pasadena Police Department. "That's the unknown quantity. We don't know if they're heavy drinkers, if there will be a lot of scalping, if they'll all show up in those recreating vehicles. But we're pretty certain we can handle it."
Every man in the department, some 200 stong bolstered by Los Angeles area explorer scouts, will help with traffic control outside the stadium. McAlister is advising people to be on the road no later than 8 a.m. for the 12:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. Est) kickoff, because there are only 17,000 parking spots adjacent to the Rose Bowl.
"I'm afraid a lot of people better put on their hiking shoes," he said. "If they don't leave early enough they might have to park a mile or two away. If a guy leaves L.A. (15 miles away) at 9 a.m., there's a chance he might not get here until the middle of the first quarter."
Pasadena police say they are taking all the necessary security precautions inside the stadium, including an early morning walk-through with bomb-sniffing dogs. They have seen the movie "Two Minute Warning," which features a sniper attack at a football game. According to McAlister, "We don't think that can happen here.
"We've done several studies. There's only one area where someone could get on a hill outside the stadium and look down into the bowl. The only place he could fire would be into the press box."
Now isn't that a relief?
The Super Bowl provides a bonanza for the city's economy. Mayor Robert G. White says between $10 and $12 million will pour in before the week has ended.
About 1,700 hotel rooms have been sold out for months. The Vikings, now 50 miles away in Costa Mesa, had to pay one Pasadena hotel for a minimum of three nights, although they will spend only the night before the game there. That's the price they are paying to avoid the traffic jam Sunday morning. Most of the events connected with the 11th Super Bowl are far from downtown Pasadena. The media is head-quartered near the airport. The Raiders are in Newport Beach. Many fans are staying in hotels up and down the West Coast. All major hotels in Los Angeles are booked for the weekend. The luxurious new Bonaventure in downtown L.A. has been sold out for the game for a year.
Other than the game, the only other major acticity in Pasadena will be the Friday night party. This year's affair National Football League's annual will be at the Pasadena Civic center and is being billed as a Mexican fiesta.
There will be cocktails for 2,500 and 13,000 pounds of assorted tacos, burritos, refried beans and the like available. If you're counting, that's 5.09 pounds per person. Pass the Alka Seltzer, please.
In addition to the boost in the local economy, Pasadena will get $120,000 for stadium rental and concessions and priceless national exposure.
"The money isn't exactly going to make a major impact on next year's budget," said Mayor White. "But all those folks see us in technicolor on New Year's Day, and then again a week later. And the people who come here for the Super Bowl are not at all like the college crowd."
One unidentified NFL executive was quoted as saying, "The college crowd comes to town with a $10 bill and never cracks it. Our crowd spends $100 a day."
"The biggest problem we've had is telling people they can't land their private helicopters next to the bowl," White said. "They'll just have to fight the traffic like everyone else."