American college football fans at the Cotton Bowl game between Clemson and Notre Dame got more than they bargained for when a bald eagle swooped into the crowd and landed on spectators.
The eagle was being used as part of the pre-game ceremony for the college football playoff semifinal game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, but appeared to cast aside any notion of a routine after the playing of the national anthem and instead made for the stands.
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The impressive bird was seen diving into the crowd, where it landed on at least two fans.
Footage shared on social media showed the bald eagle – an animal famously part of the US emblem – sharing some time with two Notre Dame fans as other spectators among the 90,000 in attendance looked on amused, bemused or both.
One fan was even seen proudly parading the bird – later revealed to be called Clark – on his arm.
Sports Illustrated caught up with one of the fans visited by the eagle, Albert Armas, who joked he had been “scared crapless” when the huge bird – which can have a wingspan of up to 8ft – swooped onto him.
Fellow fan Tuyen Nguyen, who was seen coaxing the bird onto his arm, appropriately revealed that he is a supporter of NFL team the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sadly for the Notre Dame fans the bird’s visit was not a lucky sign as the Fighting Irish suffered a heavy 30-3 defeat at the hands of the Tigers.