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Raiders beef up security to make 'Black Hole' safer

Tony Avelar/Associated Press
The Oakland Raiders "Black Hole" hopes to be a lot safer this year, as the team has bolstered security in the stadium.

More than a few Oakland Raiders were caught off guard by heightened security prior to Monday night's home opener against the San Diego Chargers.

Starting this season, the NFL is requiring all 32 teams to plant metal detectors outside every gate of entry, and that added up to longer lines for an already amped-up Raider Nation at O.co Coliseum. Various reports indicate the crowd remained patient and cooperative filing in.

Raiders fan Kristina Hillman acknowledged mixed views on the beefed-up security presence, but told the Bay Area News Group it might be worth it. "When you're going to have such a large group of people," she said, "people are going to be drinking. People are going to be acting up. People take their teams very seriously. ... Drugs and alcohol, and all sorts of things can happen."

Raiders officials have focused on improving fan conduct at games over the past four seasons. Jeff Miller, head of NFL security, has been close to that effort and believes the "Black Hole" -- still not the friendliest place on our planet -- is a little less bleak for the innocent among us.

"One of the first games I worked when I came to the league was here, on a Monday night (in 2008), and it was a tough situation," Miller said. "I'll tell you what, each year they've made tremendous improvement and it's turned around significantly. A lot of that has to do with the assistance we get from the fans."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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