The rule is so specific and restrictive that you’ll need to read it to get the full scope:
The NFL strongly encourages fans to not bring any type of bags, but outlined [Thursday] what is permissible. Beginning with preseason games, fans will be able to carry the following style and size bag, package, or container at stadium plaza areas, stadium gates, or when approaching queue lines of fans awaiting entry into the stadium:
• Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12.” (Official NFL team logo clear plastic tote bags are available through club merchandise outlets or at nflshop.com), or
• One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar).
• Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap can be taken into the stadium with one of the clear plastic bag options.
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, seat cushions, luggage of any kind, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
Where to begin?
1. NFL games have never been family friendly. Long lines, drunks, standing fans and packed seating bowls don’t make for a great atmosphere for kids. This moves exacerbates that problem, particularly for families with small children. A small clutch isn’t enough to carry the myriad supplies needed for a four-hour outing. (I’m less sympathetic to the diaper bag argument. If you’re bringing a child who needs a diaper change to an NFL game, not having a big enough bag is going to be the least of your troubles.)
2. The league said it was discussing the policy before the Boston Marathon attacks, but said those bombings were “a factor” in this change. A big difference between the two events is that ticket holders have always gone through security at NFL games. Purses have been checked for years and unlike the perfunctory frisks that non-purse carriers receive, those searches were comprehensive.
Security is necessary inconvenience, provided it’s making fans safer. Sometimes security is more about the illusion of safety, but banning purses doesn’t fit, not will it make security lines move discernibly faster.
3. You’ll notice the league is trying to sell fans on official NFL clear bags. (None of which I could find on NFLshop.com, by the way.) Synergy!
4. “Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, [...] can be taken into the stadium.” Whose hand are we talking about? Does the NFL expect women to carry all necessary items in such a small bag?
5. For that matter, why is a clear plastic bag acceptable and a purse not? Theoretically, a clear bag would still have to be searched and things could be smuggled inside.
6. I don’t think this lasts. There’s justifiable anger about the policy and not enough security upside. The league is trying to get people to come to the stadium, not keep them away. If the NFL is so concerned about the efficiency of security lines, hire more security guards. It can afford them.