Dazzling Fireworks, Gold Cleats, Pricey Snacks, Tight Security on Hand at Levi’s Stadium During Super Bowl 50 - NBC Bay Area
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Dazzling Fireworks, Gold Cleats, Pricey Snacks, Tight Security on Hand at Levi’s Stadium During Super Bowl 50

Super Bowl 50 Draws Broncos, Panthers Fans to Levi's Stadium

The Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium. Raj Mathai, Peggy Bunker, Pete Suratos and Michelle Roberts report. (Published Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016)

The Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10, winning Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium.

The NFL’s extravaganza Sunday featured an electrifying rendition of the "Star-Spangled Banner" by Lady Gaga and a flamboyant halftime performance by Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars.

Tens of thousands of fans have poured in to the Bay Area in the days leading up to the game, but all eyes were on the South Bay Sunday.

StubHub sold over 5,000 tickets — ranging from $3,000 to more than $10,000 — to the event. Fans, from all over California, North Carolina and even Australia, began lining up before 9 a.m. on game day to snag their seats at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

A sense of anticipation and excitement permeated the festivities with revelers stocking up on beer, chicken and hot dogs. Some, however, were miffed at seeing that water bottles were priced at $7, Bud Light at $13 and Pinot Grigio at $25.

Thousands boarded Caltrain, which transported them from San Francisco to Mountain View, where a light rail brought them directly to Levi's Stadium.

VTA officials, who estimated that around 12,000 people would use the service from Mountain View Sunday, were pleased by the turnout. On Monday, officials announced that 9,500 fans had, in fact, used the light rail and bus service.

Stacey Hendler Ross with the VTA said the transit agency has spent nearly a year coming up with "plans on how to take people [to Levi's Stadium] safely, efficiently, and effectively."

Melissa Rutledge, a Panthers supporter, was glad she chose to use public transit to and from Levi's Stadium.

"It was wonderful — very safe, really clean," she said. "Unfortunately, there were Broncos fans."

Broncos fan Jamie Cosmer, however, was so excited to watch her favorite team live that she was at a loss for words.

"I can't even talk, I can't even talk," she said.

Media personnel from Russia, Mexico, the U.K., Germany and Japan also flocked to the venue and reported that security — by way of armored vans, helicopters and even the National Guard — was expectedly tight. 

The Department of Homeland Security deemed the Super Bowl a tier-one event, which earned it a high level of security starting at the federal level. 

A no-fly zone took effect around 2:30 p.m. Sunday and officials promised violators that they would see an F-15 fighter aircraft on their tail. A no-drone zone was also enforced in a 32-mile radius surrounding Levi’s Stadium.

Meanwhile, Black Hawk helicopters circled the stadium all day, military personnel and snipers perched on rooftops surrounding the 65,000-seat venue, and K-9 units that work with explosives walked among the crowds.

Attendees admitted to NBC Bay Area that they were grateful for the increased security measures and large number of uniformed officers.

"With big events like this, ever since we’ve had Al Qaida and whatnot, [they] have to be secure," Grace Meullens said. 

Ryan Hooten agreed.

"I feel pretty safe," he said. "If anything goes down, I think the safest place is the Super Bowl."

Earlier in the week, fans flocked to the NFL Experience as well as Super Bowl City to watch performances by One Republic, Alicia Keys and others. The massive turnout, in fact, forced officials to close Justin Herman Plaza on Friday and Saturday evenings to ensure the public's safety.

People also spotted celebrities, including Justin Bieber and Cuba Gooding, Jr., and took in a Metallica concert at AT&T Park.

Meanwhile, NFL great Jerry Rice successfully masqueraded as a Lyft driver and a cancer-stricken teenager's dream to watch the Broncos in action was fulfilled when tight-end Vernon Davis surprised him with two tickets to the Super Bowl.

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