MEXICO CITY — Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler was targeted with a laser pointer during the second quarter of Monday night's game against the Oakland Raiders at Estadio Azteca.
Several green flashes appeared on the field as the game was deadlocked 10-10, with a beam appearing to have been deliberately aimed at Osweiler and reflecting off his helmet.
According to ESPN's Monday Night Football telecast, NFL security staff was aware of the matter and investigating with a view to having the culprit identified and removed from the stadium.
The most noticeable occurrence came as Osweiler threw an incomplete pass toward DeAndre Hopkins near midfield. Social media was quickly abuzz as the dramatic images of the beam lighting the quarterback's helmet from a distance was displayed on television.
A separate play, involving running back Akeem Hunt, saw further beamed flashes appear on the field in Hunt’s direction as he attempted to gain ground.
“I never want to say one thing’s a difference maker, but certainly having a laser zoomed in your eyeball definitely affects how you play a game,” Osweiler said after Houston's 27-20 loss.
Oakland players also noticed.
“Yeah, that was kind of weird,” Raiders pass rusher Khalil Mack said. “I saw that and I thought I was in the Twilight Zone.”
In 2013, United States national team soccer goalkeeper Brad Guzan was targeted repeatedly at the same venue by Mexico fans using green laser beams during a 0-0 draw in World Cup qualifying.
An NFL game between the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills in 2014 was also affected. Back then, leading opthamology expert Dr. Robert Josephberg told USA TODAY Sports that the kind of highly-powerful lasers available today are “powerful weapons that can cause very severe damage and blindness.”
Green lasers are around 500 times more powerful than a typical red laser pointer that might be used in a classroom setting.