The NFL received approval today from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly unmanned drones. ESPN reports that the approval comes with a major stipulation that these drones cannot be used during live games and are mostly going to be used by NFL Films and to film practices.
Presumably teams will use aerial views to tighten formation and up the tech ante during chalk talks. This makes sense considering that Xs and Os are a little outdated at this point. If football is simulated warfare — and it certainly is — then why not embrace drones. They’ve proven invaluable in non-simulated warfare.
Further more, the usages of drones by the NFL must still follow all of the local and state regulations. The announcement might not directly effect the game on the field or the way that football is currently shot. But the possibilities of additional footage being collected could open up new angles and perspectives on how to watch a football game in the future.
What this absolutely does mean is the beginning of the end of the blimp days. Aerial coverage will no longer be provided by major advertisers because it won’t be that expensive. There is no need for a dirigible when you’ve got a quadcopter.