Super Bowl

Denver International Airport’s Puppy Bowl

Before this year’s Super Bowl kickoff, fans of football – and puppies – will be tuning in for Animal Planet’s 16th annual Puppy Bowl.

This year’s pre-Super Bowl event takes place at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb 3.

96 adoptable puppies from animal shelters around the country are lined up to play this year on Team Ruff and Team Fluff.

Comet – courtesy Animal Plante

But that’s not the only Puppy Bowl taking place this year.

Inspired by Animal Planet’s puppy-themed event, Denver International Airport will hold its own Puppy Bowl.

DEN’s event will take place in the center of the Jeppesen Terminal on Friday, January 31 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Adoptable puppies from Denver’s Dumb Friends League will play in Denver International Airports’ fifth Puppy Bowl. Members of DEN’s Canine Airport Therapy Squad (CATS) will serve as “rufferrees”.

The rules? Who cares – these are puppies.

Here are are few photos from past DEN Puppy Bowls, including some of the fun giveaways travelers can take home.

Adorable, right?

Super Bowl-bound? Airports and TSA ready.

Airports and TSA bracing for Super Bowl travelers  

Long before the final matchup was set for Super Bowl LIV on February 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, South Florida airports and security officials were making game plans.

The task: deal with record-setting numbers of arriving and departing fans.

FLL, MIA and PBI Airports ready.

At Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL), which is about 18 miles from the stadium, signage for the big game adorns doors, walls, columns, and baggage belt areas.

“There won’t be a place on the airport where you won’t see some reference to the Super Bowl,” said airport spokesman Greg Meyer.

To prepare for and impress sports fans, many of whom may be visiting the airport and the area for the first time, FLL has put 160 live plants throughout the terminals and artificial greenery in the restrooms.

Teams are polishing terrazzo floors, shampooing the carpeting, pressure cleaning the sidewalks, scouring the restrooms and detailing the shuttles that run between the terminals and the rental car center.  

“We do much of this cleaning normally,” said Meyer, “but doing it just prior to the game will make sure we look our best.”

Before and after the big game, FLL will have extra staff on duty and more than 60 volunteers on-site to help guests navigate through the airport.

Airport concessionaires are doing their part too. Store hours are extended hours and there’s plenty of official team and game gear for sale.

Magically, memorabilia to celebrate the winning team will be for sale immediately after the game.

MIA Airport ready too

Miami International Airport is doing much the same,” said airport spokesman Greg Chin.

MIA is about 18 miles from Hard Rock Stadium and expects above-average passenger traffic on the three days prior to and the day after Super Bowl Sunday. On Monday, Feb 3, about 90,000 passengers are projected to depart MIA, which would be a single-day record for departures at the airport.

In addition to a pre-game facility spruce-up, MIA is adding some bonus features as well.

Through Super Bowl Sunday, MIA’s public address system will be playing rotating welcoming messages from three former All-Pros: Miami Dolphins legends Dan Marino, Nat Moore and Jason Taylor.

And through the end of February, travelers can view Duane Hanson’s iconic, hyperrealist sculpture, “Football Player” on the D Concourse, between Gates D47 and D48.

Also through the end of February, the Wolfson Moving Images exhibition on Concourse F is featuring archive video from past Miami Super Bowls and Miami Dolphins history on a set of old-style flight monitors.

Both FLL AND MIA also have detailed airport navigation information, arrival, and departure tips on their websites. Each airport also has important alerts about human trafficking, on the “Countdown to Takeoff Playbook” posted on their respective websites.

And passengers arriving before the Super Bowl on Thursday and Friday (1/30 and 1/31) at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), 58 miles from Hard Rock Stadium, will be greeted with special welcoming messages as well as giveaways and promotional items in the Bag Claim level.

Concessionaires at PBI are laying in the sports-themed memorabilia as well.

TSA gearing up for the game

During the Super Bowl week, TSA, local and county police departments, Customs and Border Protection, and other agencies will be adding extra teams and showing a hi-visibility presence at all area airports

And to help with the crush of fans leaving on February 3, some security checkpoints will open early at both FLL and MIA and additional checkpoints will stay open 24 hours. 

While not all security precautions being taken can be shared, according to TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz, FLL will have 6 extra canine teams, additional support from Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) and the Broward Country Sheriff’s office, and 40 extra Transportation Security Officers on duty to help at checkpoints and baggage areas.

Koshetz says 10 additional TSA canine teams will also join the eleven TSA canine teams already at MIA. There will be 60 additional TSA Officers to augment the TSA Miami Officer staff and help keep additional checkpoint lanes open on throughout the day.

Follow the countdown plan

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the National Football League, hospitality organizations and the airports are encouraging passengers heading home after the game on February 3 to follow the “5-4-3-2-1” plan.

The campaign encourages travelers to check out of hotels 5 hours before departure flight time; to return rental cars 4 hours before their flights, and to check-in at the airline ticket counters 3 hours before their flights. TSA hopes travelers will go through security at least 2 hours before their flights and be at their gates an hour before flight time.

For security reasons, TSA is also asking Super Bowl travelers heading home after the big game to pack their commemorative programs in carry-ons, not in checked bags.

In previous years, the composition and thickness of these programs prevented TSA’s machines and human scanners from seeing beneath the booklets in checked bags, requiring those bags to alarm and be opened.

(My story about airports and TSA getting ready for Super Bowl fans first appeared on USA TODAY in a slightly different format.)


Vintage Super Bowl film clips at Miami Airport

On Sunday, February 2, the Super Bowl returns to Miami for the 11th time.

And Miami International Airport (MIA) is getting ready to welcome thousands of fans who will be flying in – and out – for the big game.

In addition to special signage throughout the airport and a variety of other special treats, MIA airport is using a bank of old flight display monitors in Concourse F to show vintage film clips from the Wolfson Moving Images archives at Miami Dade College.

The film clips feature scenes from past Super Bowls that took place in Miami as well as Miami Dolphins history.

And check out those fans!

Here are some snippets:

Super-real sculptures at Florida’s Airports

Miami-Dade County will be hosting Super Bowl LIV in February 2020 and, in preparation, Miami International Airport (MIA) is displaying artist Duane Hanson’s hyperrealist sculpture “Football Player. 

The sculpture is on display on MIA’s Concourse D, between gates D47 and D48 through February 2020 and is on loan from the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum.

MIA isn’t the only Florida airport to display the work of Duane Hanson. Both Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) each have a hyper-realistic Duane Hanson sculptures on permanent display.

At FLL, the Duane Hanson sculpture called “Vendor with Walkman” is in the Baggage Claim area of Terminal 1.

The airport has owned this artwork since 1990.

Orlando International Airport (MCO) has owned Hanson’s “The Traveler” since 1986. The sculpture is located in the Terminal A concourse between the East and West security checkpoints, near the food court.

Beyond these airports, many modern art museums have work by Duane Hanson in their collections.

Hanson, who died in 1996, created a special technique of casting in polyester resins reinforced with fiberglass. He’d make casts of living people and then painstakingly paint the figures to look exactly like the models.

Puppy Bowl at Denver Airport

Football fan or not, it’s hard not to love the Puppy Bowl pre-game event that is now a Super Bowl-day tradition.

The event is so cute – and so good for promoting the adoption of puppies and dogs (and cats), that Denver International Airport holds is own Puppy Bowl.

DEN’s fourth annual Puppy Bowl will take place in the main terminal from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, ­Feb. 1.

The “players” will include eight adoptable puppies and two adoptable adult dogs from the Denver’s animal shelter/humane society, called the Dumb Friends League.

Pets featured at the DEN Puppy Bowl will be available for adoption the following day or following week at the Petco Adoption Center in Denver on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If you’re not able to attend the event in-person, be assured the airport will be sharing snaps of the puppies in action on social media (#DENPuppyBowl) and showing all the DEN Puppy Bowl “game footage” on the DEN Facebook page after the event.