how-norad-protects-the-skies-over-the-super-bowl
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The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform the flyover of Super Bowl LI in Houston on Feb. 5, 2017. (Tech. Sgt. Christopher Boitz/Air Force)

While millions of eyes will be on the field Sunday for Super Bowl LVII, the North American Aerospace Defense Command will have its eyes in the sky over State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Since 2002, NORAD has protected the skies over the Super Bowl. As such, it will do so this year, “along with the FBI, Federal Aviation Administration, the Civil Air Patrol and the Glendale Police Department,” according to AZ Mirror.

NORAD is tasked with preventing, finding and neutralizing any airspace threats over the continent.

“The activities and coordination we are conducting for the Super Bowl is what NORAD does year round to defend the air space of Canada and the U.S. from airborne threats,” said Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, former commander of NORAD, in a 2019 release.

AZ Mirror also noted that Temporary Flight Restrictions — outside of use by police or fire and rescue — will be put into place, and drone usage will be prohibited until the game is over.

“We want to encourage everyone to leave their drones at home,” the FAA’s western regional administrator, Erik W. Amend, told reporters.

State Farm Stadium normally has a capacity of 63,400 people, but that number can be boosted to 73,000 for large-scale events such as the Super Bowl, CBS reported.

This year, NORAD protection will include F-16 fighter jets supported by the Arizona National Guard’s 161st Refueling Wing with KC-135 tankers.

“A NORAD spokesman said that they will have everything from tankers to advanced warning aircraft flying over the region, but would not elaborate further,” AZ Mirror added.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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