Life - and football - goes on.
The NFC conference championships proceeded as scheduled on Sunday, with increased security at Rich Stadium near Buffalo and Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Banners were banned at Candlestick as security risks, but hundreds of flags flew in both facilities to show support for U.S. troops fighting in the Persian Gulf.Inside, though, it was football as usual.
"Anything can still happen," Mike Erckert, a construction worker, said as he pulled on layers of winter clothing in the Rich Stadium parking lot. "But it's time we got our attention focused again on the business of life.
"Thinking about the Buffalo Bills and this game last night was the first thing that really seemed normal about the last few days," he added. "Up until then, watching TV made me too nervous to think about anything else."
Long lines due to security checks at the entrances to Rich Stadium kept many fans outside until just before the 12:30 p.m. EST kickoff. But as game time neared, fans - with faces painted in the Bills' appropriately patriotic colors - streamed toward the entrances in an orderly fashion carrying banners that read, "Let The Red, White and Blue Achieve Their Goals, US Troops - Bills," and "Our US Soliders Are the Real All-Stars."
In San Francisco, the anti-war activities which caused chaos in the streets of San Francisco last week was virtually nonexistent.
"It's real calm. I've seen maybe 15 anti-war people all morning," said Lt. Harlan Wilson of the San Francisco Police Department about 11/2 hours before kickoff.
"I don't think they'd stand a chance if they came in here," said Bob Hansen, a 49ers fan from San Jose who bought 10 small American flags for his group to carry on Sunday.
A large contingent of city police was on special duty because of concern that Candlestick Park could be the scene of large anti-war demonstrations or even terrorist activity. Some police had riot gear.