Feature   Know Your Military

You Watch the Game, NORAD Watches the Skies

Jan. 31, 2020 | BY Katie Lange , DOD News

Whether you're planning to watch the Super Bowl because you're a Chiefs fan, a Niners fan, a football fan in general — or just because you want to see the commercials, J.Lo and Shakira — an estimated 100 million people will tune in to watch the big game Feb. 2. 

An aerial view of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami as a helicopter flies past the “Super Bowl LIV” sign
Super Bowl
UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters assigned to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations patrol the airspace over Hard Rock Stadium in advance of Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Jan. 27, 2020.
Photo By: Jerry Glaser, Customs and Border Protection
VIRIN: 200127-H-AT513-072C

About 65,000 of the most devout fans will be in the seats at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium to watch the matchup live. Even more will be a stone's throw from the stadium to watch from the periphery. 

Any event of that magnitude can be seen by our enemies as a high-value target, so the men and women of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, will have their eyes not on the field, but above it.

An F-15 Eagle fighter jet flies across a blue sky with jet stream tailing behind it.
Eagle Flight
A North American Aerospace Defense Command F-15 Eagle takes a training flight in preparation for defending the skies during Super Bowl LIV, Jan. 28, 2020. NORAD and interagency partners will enforce the Federal Aviation Administration's temporary flight restriction over Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Super Bowl Sunday.
Photo By: Air Force Master Sgt. Regina Young
VIRIN: 200128-Z-IV121-1043C

For nearly two decades, NORAD has watched the airspace above the Super Bowl. This year, F-15 fighter jets will be enforcing the Federal Aviation Administration's temporary 30-mile no-fly zone above the stadium before and during the game — meaning they'll be in charge of removing any aircraft in the airspace without proper authorization.

It's a collaborative mission with the FAA, Customs and Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security, and preparation for it is year-round. 

A fighter jet sits on tarmac at dusk.
Air Defender
NORAD, Florida and Tennessee Air National Guard units work alongside interagency partners to participate in Super Bowl LIV Air Defender Media Day at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., Jan. 28, 2020.
Photo By: Air Force Master Sgt. Regina Young
VIRIN: 200128-Z-IV121-1203

For 60 years, NORAD has identified and intercepted potential air threats to North America, so it makes sense the command's airmen protect the skies above one of America's biggest sporting nights!