The football game between the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons was stopped and delayed on Sunday when a drone was reportedly spotted near or over Lumen Field.
It was the second time this weekend that play was interrupted by a drone over a stadium in Seattle. On Saturday night a rogue drone caused problems at Husky Stadium in a contest between the University of Washington and Stanford.
Sunday’s stoppage occurred with about 6:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. Referee Tra Blake announced that he was stopping play due to “NFL security” and players from both teams were asked to clear the field. The delay lasted about 8 minutes.
Players and coaches could be seen looking up at the sky, but the drone was never shown on TV. Play resumed and Atlanta ended up winning, 27-23.
The drone at Husky Stadium was caught on camera during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 40-22 UW win.
“I kind of feel like I’m looking at a UFO, even though I’m not,” Fox analyst Petro Papadakis said at one point during a delay that lasted more than 10 minutes.
Fox Sports field reporter Jennifer Hale said during the Seahawks broadcast that the Washington Athletic Department was responsible for the drone on Saturday, which “lost connection and went rogue.”
Update, Sept. 26: But on Monday, UW head football coach Kalen DeBoer said the drone did not belong to UW.
The Federal Aviation Administration has strict laws against flying drones in or around stadiums with a capacity of 30,000 or more. Drone use is prohibited beginning one hour before and one hour after the scheduled time of NFL, MLB, NCAAF or NASCAR events.
The NFL’s head of security told Bloomberg earlier this month why the league worries about the devices.
“I’m concerned about the nefarious actor, quite honestly,” Chief Security Officer Cathy Lanier said. A malicious operator could cause “catastrophic outcomes,” she added.
Violations can result in civil penalties up to $37,377 and potential criminal prosecution.
When the drone operators do get permission and the devices do work properly, the aerial footage can look like so …
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