By JASON REUTER, Contributing Writer
As students broke a sweat shoveling their cars and driveways, the New England Patriots broke a sweat practicing in the balmy 75-degree weather at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
As many of us settle in for what should be an interesting game, University of New Hampshire and Durham town officials are preparing for what could be an eventful night.
In the past, UNH students have been known to get a bit rowdy after Boston sports triumphs. After the Red Sox won the World Series in 2013, over 3,000 students flooded Main Street, which resulted in five student arrests and damage to parked cars.
With these prior instances in mind, both UNH and Durham Police officials are preparing for the worst.
“As it has in other instances, the University of New Hampshire and its police department will work cooperatively with area law enforcement agencies and the town of Durham in preparation for the Super Bowl,” said University of New Hampshire Police Chief Paul Dean. “That includes working with residence hall and apartment staff to talk with students about acceptable behavior and expectations as well as direct communication with students on the topic. In addition, law enforcement will ensure there is adequate police coverage.”
This year, officials have to deal with the increased risk of ongoing construction projects on Main Street.
“Durham PD has met with all owners and construction management personnel and they have committed to ensuring that their fences are in order and all have committed to having security personnel on-site Sunday evening,” said Durham Police Chief David Kurz.
In addition to police efforts, many local restaurants and businesses are closing early or adding more door staff in an attempt to limit the crowd. Libby’s Bar and Grill hopes its increased door staff and $5 pitchers of beer will keep patrons from rushing Main Street after the game.
Tacomano’s manager, Dan Harmer, said he plans on closing up early Sunday night after Durham police forewarned him about the possible events that may occur that evening.
“We would like to stay open, but it’s not worth the risk,” Harmer said.
Another late night food stop that is closing up early is Durham House of Pizza.
“I was here in 2013 after the Red Sox riots,” said Justin Petrovitsis, son of the owner of Durham House of Pizza. “After seeing the damage that was done to the owners of Salsa’s [the restaurant that occupied previously occupied Tacomano’s location] car, I am closing up shop just after half time.”
Resident assistants and hall directors are also being called upon to help limit the number of students leaving dorms and rushing Main Street after the game.
In hopes to keep students entertained, Assistant Hall Director Alex Roscoe of Williamson Hall is working closely with the RAs in her building to plan Super Bowl socials.
“We hope that by providing game socials and catering from Buffalo Wild Wings, we will be able to keep students involved in the dorm during game time,” Roscoe said. “This will control the rush of students going out the doors when the game is over.”
“Everyone downtown is a Pats fan,” said Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig. “Including the police officers who can’t enjoy the big game as they might otherwise prefer to do in the warmth of their homes with family and friends.”
Phoebe McPherson contributed to this report.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with corrected content on Feb. 7, 2015.