• Final preps under way at Georgia Dome for NFC championship game

    By: WSBTV.com web staff


    ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News got a first look inside the Georgia Dome as preparations are under way for Sunday's NFC championship game.

    Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant got a look Friday at the extra resources that are being put in place to keep fans safe.

    "We're going to use all resources that we have available, whether that is the K9's coming through, or manning every door," said Jason Kirksey with the Georgia Dome.

    The dome's surveillance center was off limits to Diamant Thursday, but one thing the 70,000-plus fans who will fill the stands should know: "Anyone coming in and out of the facility, we'll know who they are," Kirksey said.

    Those outside the dome will be watched, too.

    Atlanta Police Department's video integration center will be fully staffed, backing up an army of officers in uniform and undercover.

    "So they can go unseen and maybe spot criminal activity as it happens," said Sgt. Greg Lyon with APD.

    Teams of state and federal agents will also play key safety roles. And while more people may be in the mix for this game, the security strategy is mainly the same.

    "The NFL will dictate security for any of its events and that's a preseason game, a regular season game, a playoff game or the Super Bowl," Kirksey said.

    Georgia World Congress Center police will head up coordination efforts between agencies.

    "We can't stop bad things from happening sometimes, because bad things are going to happen, we just have to be prepared to react to them," said Maj. Billy Gordon with the GWCC police.

    And while the specifics are secret, the aim to reduce risk is not.

    "We'll go through any measure possible to make sure that happens," Kirksey said.

    While the security preps continue behind the scenes, Georgia Dome officials told Diamant that the most thorough security sweeps won't happen until Sunday morning, just hours before the game.



    The Dome undergoes a makeover

    While security crews prepare for this weekend's game, Georgia Dome workers are rushing to put the final touches on the stadium as they get ready for 70,000 fans and media from all over the world to descend.

    Channel 2's Erica Byfield was there as workers painted the end zones, checked lights and repositioned cameras getting ready for Sunday's game.

    "As far as the preparations go, we are just preparing for 70,000 people to come into an exciting atmosphere," Kirksey said.

    Along with the words "Atlanta Falcons" in the end zones, the dome's ground crew also painted the NFL's logo along with the word "championship."

    "We are very excited to be able to paint the NFC championship logo on the field, first time ever for the Georgia Dome, even for the city of Atlanta to have NFC Championship on the field," Kirksey said. "There is only two stadiums in the country that have that this weekend, and I bet if you asked any of the other ones they would be very excited to have that, and obviously are."

    The dome is also reworking its menu choices for the special game.

    Georgia Dome Executive Chef Charles Walker told Channel 2's Shae Rozzi this Sunday, they'll be featuring food that represents the two teams and the ultimate prize, a ticket to this year's Super Bowl game in New Orleans.

    "On the Atlanta side, we'll be featuring peach-glazed ribs, along with the black-and-red sandwich. It's a brand-new sandwich for this game. It's a fried chicken breast that's blackened with a red hot sauce," Walker said.

    He'll be cooking up shrimp and fish tacos with Rice-A-Roni to represent San Francisco's 49ers. Po' boy sandwiches and Bourbon Street burgers will represent New Orleans.

    "It's about the fan experience," Walker said.

    He also showed Rozzi some signature cocktail drinks that are served as a classy combo meal.

    The Sliderita is a margarita that has two slider burgers on a kabob sticking out of the drink. Sliders can also be served with Bloody Mary drinks, while the margarita is also featured with two jumbo shrimp.


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