If you are a football fan, by now you’ve likely heard of the new NFL “bag rules” that have gone into effect at football stadiums across the country as pre-season games kick-off. The rules have been created to “provide a safer environment for the public and significantly expedite fan entry into stadiums.”

Although the rules apply to all attendees, the new guidelines clearly affect female fans the most, as we are the ones that are carrying handbags, purses and diaper bags, now all banned by the NFL.

Here’s what you can bring:

  • Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12”
  • NEW Official NFL team logo clear plastic tote bags
  • One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag – Ziploc bag or similar



Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, diaper bags, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, seat cushions, camera bags, etc.

The irony is that the NFL actually sells purses and bags in their online shop, which based on the new guidelines, you can no longer sport to your hometown stadium.

Under the guise of “safety”, the rules and parameters seem a bit arbitrary to us so we turned to Melissa Jacobs, Founder & Managing Editor of TheFootballGirl.com to get her take on the policy and its affect on female fans.

“What the league considers an improvement to public safety, I consider a setback for all fans, particularly women. Women carry purses. By asking women to leave their purses at home, the league is disconnecting from a fan base they are supposedly working so hard to expand.

Despite the leagues effort to pound home the safety message, what I’ve seen is that women feel as though this is overt discrimination. I personally think it’s a security enhancement that was not very well thought out. Why not improve current security measures? Better wanding, airport-esque-screeners for bags, etc. And explain to women (and all fans) why this was necessary. A lot of fans assume it was a knee-jerk reaction to Boston, but it was not. 

Will this affect attendance? It might. I don’t think women who are angry will stay away. They will show up and continue to vent.”

How the NFL purse ban plays out remains to be seen, some teams have done a better job than others of informing attendees of the regulations, here in NY, the Giants distributed “legal” clear bags to their season ticket holders to help introduce them to new policy.

One of our favorite responses to the ban comes from improv comedians Lauren LaBorde and Colleen Alerton of The New Movement. They released “My Purse. My Choice.”, a spoof PSA that spells it all out.

“We take these rules as a personal attack on women and our freedom of choice. We are tired of men telling us what to do with our bags. #MyPurseMyChoice.”