While I couldn't find an explicit answer to your question, there is
one reference that I could find that deals with what would happen
should a football hit one of the cameras on the field.
This is from a question and answer service with a former NFL Referee
Jerry Marbreit who rights (or wrote) a column for a Chicago sports
This question and answer can be found at:
Hey Jerry. My question is about the new cameras that hang over the
field. I realize they're always behind the play and the ball won't
ever hit it. But, since it is in the field of play, there must be a
rule just in case the ball ever hits it. What happens if during a
pass, field goal or punt the ball hits the camera or the strings
holding up the camera? Do they simply replay the down? --Jon Redmond,
The new camera that hangs over the field is called the Sky Cam. You
are correct in stating that this camera is always behind the play, so
that it won't get in the way. There is, however, a special rule which
was initiated back in the 'seventies, called "The Gondola Rule." The
gondola was a speaker and scoreboard system hanging from the ceiling
in the New Orleans Superdome. During a Raider-Saints game played
there, Ray Guy, the great Raider punter, hit the gondola with a
tremendously high kick. The referee, not having a rule to hang his hat
on, decided to replay the down; and thus was born "The Gondola Rule."
If a live ball hits the Sky Cam or any other non-football related
thing, such as a bird in flight, the down will be replayed.
Hope I could help.