A federal agency may be calling a new penalty on the football field - "Illegal Use of Drones."

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating three NFL teams who may have used drones, or unmanned aircraft systems, to record video of spring workouts.

Bloomberg News reports that the FAA plans to contact the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, and has already contacted the Dallas Cowboys.  Although the teams were recording their own practice sessions, the FAA requires that permission is granted by the agency for flying drones that are used for commercial purposes.

A posting on the FAA's website acknowledges that rules are being discussed for the use of drones and unmanned aircraft.  A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the subject reads as follows:

"The Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration has proposed a framework of regulations that would allow routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in today's aviation system, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future technological innovations. The FAA proposal offers safety rules for small UAS (under 55 pounds) conducting non-recreational operations. The rule would limit flights to daylight and visual-line-of-sight operations. It also addresses height restrictions, operator certification, optional use of a visual observer, aircraft registration and marking, and operational limits."

Commercial applications may be granted exemption in certain controlled, low-risk environments, a case which may be made for the NFL teams who allegedly use drones.  However, without proper permission UAS cannot fly.