Custom Microsoft Surface Pro 2 powers the NFL's sideline of the future

Custom Microsoft Surface Pro 2 powers the NFL's sideline of the future

Summary: NFL players and coaches will have the option of reviewing plays in full color on modified Surface Pro 2 devices this season instead of viewing black and white printed photographs.


In May 2013, Microsoft and the NFL announced a partnership to enhance the game and today will be the first game where players and coaches can pick up a customized Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and view gameplay photos.

The NFL will supply Surface Pro 2 devices, contained in ruggedized cases, inside temperature-controlled carts on the sidelines. There will be 13 for players and another 12 for coaches above in the coaching boxes. These modified devices will only allow access to the Sideline Viewing System so you don't have to worry about players Tweeting from the Surface Pro 2s.

Currently, the NFL provides black-and-white images of the plays that are printed out and provided by runners to the sidelines. Technology is limited on the sidelines to help prevent cheating. These Surface Pro 2 devices are optional for the players and coaches so it will be interesting to see how many choose to use these over the current method.

Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks QB, has been in many Surface commercials and appears to be a Surface user so as a Seahawks fan I will be keeping an eye on the sidelines to see if he picks up a Surface during the game. I understand that players can see the images on a Surface 20-30 seconds sooner than if they wait for printed images to arrive on the sidelines.

Engadget has several images of the Surface Pro 2 NFL setup. SFGate has all the details on the technology. This system debuts during tonight's Hall of Fame game so keep you eye on the sidelines.

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Tablets, Microsoft Surface

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  • Very cool..

    I always wondered when the NFL was going to get away from printing pictures...
  • Interesting

    I thought the iPad was entrenched in all sports.
  • Too powerful

    Shame because the surface is way more powerful than what they are doing with it. I would have guessed they would use a cheap Android device.
    Sean Foley
    • Its just advertising.

      I doubt they even had to pay for them...
      • We both know that's not the case Jesse

        but you keep doing whatever it is you're doing.

        Thank goodness you're not an airplane mechanic...
      • Correct

        Microsoft is paying $400 million for a multi-year advertising deal:
      • Could be, but then, it would be a similar deal to what Google does with

        Chromebooks in schools, where they give away the devices to schools, simply for the advertising and marketing which that brings to the market.

        BTW, all manufacturers do the "free" or "subsidized" marketing with selected clients. The expectation is that, it will pay off by bringing in a much larger number of regular paying customers.

        BTW, how many people who purchased their smartphones in the last few years, paid full price for their devices?
    • It is more likely about using what fills teir requiements

      Since preventing cheating and durability seem high on their list I suspect tat ruled out most tablets.

      Being too powerful for their needs is probably not a big deal. being able to lock the devices down and durable enough to be used on the NFL field is.
    • Likely because the Surface Pro is more modifyable then the iPad

      as it's closer to a PC then the ipad is.
      • The Surface Pro is a PC!

        In hybrid tablet skin, that is.
    • Surface Pro Is Powerful

      Surface Pro may not have a bazillion apps, but its power, and versatility of using real programs can't be denied. The NFL, and the LA Clippers are just starting to tap into what they can do with this highly mobile and compact PC/Tablet Hybrid. I Love my non-limiting Surface Pro 1, that I am typing on, during my break at work. It sits right next to my work PC keyboard, and my own Windows Phone. A matter of fact, my Surface Pro 1 takes up almost the same foot print as my PC keyboard. I am no longer handcuffed to the Apple iOS eco world. I leave my iPad home now, unless I travel, which I stuff both my Surface Pro & iPad (for a few games) in my small Targus for 11" Tables bag. This is gigantic switch from dragging around my 17" HP Pavilion Laptop, and iPad just 2 months ago, about a 1/3 reduction both size & weight, but more power. I'm loving it!
  • Goes along

    It goes along the NFL Xbox One fantasy app deal. You'll be able to get on screen popups during the game about how your team is doing. It sounds like it's will be fun.
    Buster Friendly
    • Xbox One and NFL Is Awesome!

      I am an American overseas, with my U.S. Xbox One, unfortunately I can't take advantage of the Netflix, and Amazon prime, without hiding my IP and using a PC. However, this NFL on the Xbox One deal is awesome! I haven't even paid a subscription for an NFL package, but I'm enjoying all of the extra media coverage content that this deal covers. The Xbox One game highlights, and scoreboard is kind of slow, but a work around is to use the Xbox One build-in Internet Explorer, and go directly to my Seattle Seahawks website, and track their play by play scoreboard, and highlights, without much delay. I can't wait when Microsoft finally get this Universal Apes, Windows 10, Xbox One, Windows Phone, and etch.. Up and running! Awesome times ahead for MS, and their customers! It took MS a few bloody noses, but they are finally starting to listen to their customers.
  • I hate it when MS trys to market it's products!! They do more harm then go

    So you are replacing something with the weight of a few pieces of paper with what looks like 90's tablet - and they think it's advertising?!

    Why the hell would you use the last generation Pros - when you have something lighter and better NOW?! Pros have the reputation of being thick and those f'ing things look HUGE!! So everyone that watches these games is gonna see the Pros as a FAT, BULKY THING!! You are showing people the very thing you do not want people to THINK!!

    Where the HELL do the PENS go?! You want coaches and players to keep track of pens?! So, you have one dude that says on TV - we lost the pen. And the morons (journalists) are gonna make headlines - "MS Pro useless on the field, cannot find pens"!!

    You can make annotations on this thing and save it for later. But the tablets are owned by the NFL. The coaches are gonna trust their annotations and notes to NFL?! Would you ever want your notes in someone else's hands?! Who is securing the DATA?! Who owns the data?!

    This is a cluster F waiting to happen! Who the F does marketing at MS - these people make my blood boil!!
    • There are more important things to get angry about...

      How is the economy doing in your neck of the woods. How do you feel about how weak the U.S. has become in the last 6 years or so? How do you feel about paying to house and feed the more than 12 million illegals in the country, and the hundreds of thousands of children being allowed to come in this year?

      Live and let live.

      Let the NFL worry about its decisions, and left Microsoft do their sales and marketing as they see fit. If it doesn't work well on either side, then, somebody or both, will suffer the consequences. What's in it for you????
    • I Agree That MS Marketing Sometimes Sucks, but ...

      They had to make it clear that their products are running things in the NFL, on the sidelines, and etc... Check out the link below! Instead of some ignorant announcers, and media giving undue credit to your competitor, you must as a business make it clear that you got this! Thick or thin, if MS don't want to be embarrassed, then make the Surface Pro work! An iPad is not a real PC, and even YouTube will tell you that, with the, "This video has not been released to Mobile Devices, please view later on a PC." Error! Now that is a F****ING reality check for a consumer. Minus you exaggeration, the iPad and Surface Pro 1 are maybe a pound difference of each other, but I have the full confidence of getting a quality job done, without any constraints on my Surface Pro, even YouTube videos. I don't need a bazillion apps, but the POWER to run Apps and PROGRAMS. Did you know that I can run all of Androids apps, by using Blue Stack on my touch screen Surface Pro? Now, that would definitely cause the Surface Pro/OEM hybrids to fly off the shelves, but it would definitely put a damper on Microsoft Apps ecosystem development hopes. A win for Google Play, and Windows based touch screen Hybrids sales, but not so much Apple and Microsoft. Have you ever owned, or used extensively a Surface Pro outside of a quick pickup on the show room floor, or basing your thoughts off some bias Android and Apple lover? How weak have we gotten, when 2 pounds is considered heavy? Eat your Wheaties! Please look at the glass another way, and you will be enlightened. Progress. I am getting my wife the Surface Pro 3, but for now, my Pro 1 will do. Surface Pro 3 has most of the same Pro 1 guts, with a few upgrade improvements, non-Wacom pen and larger, thinner screen, with a kick, stand tweak. No rush, the prices will come down, as I patiently use my Pro 1. There will always be the next big thing.

      The NFL can buy plenty of pens, but the NFL case has a pen holder, it also looks like the pen may have a cord fixture attached. Same as using a whiteboard, you need a wax pencil or dry marker for. They are just utilizing a closed network, and a tablet. The coaches pay people to keep up with that small stuff. You scream security, and you bank and make purchases online, right? MS and the NFL have enough money to take care of those issues.

      Let's not be silly about the data, because Microsoft or any other company can't do what Google and Facebook is doing to us normal citizens, which is commandeer our information to sale. The NFL's data is the intellectual property, of the NFL, and their owners. The NFL teams network is closed, and whatever the media, and fans get are not linked to their on field bread and butter.


      Check out this video:
  • Don't you mean "Live and let DIE"?!

    Why else would you advocate sending children to get killed or raped?!
    First of all, it's not "hundreds of thousands" of children - it's only thousands!! And do you really want to be the guy that advocates sending children back to death that they risked everything - including their life - to escape?! God must love you...
    If you really hate illegals - send them ALL back!! Go to silicon valley or the financial district and send all the immigrants back!! But, I am sure you only mean the poor ones, right? The ones that pick your food, or clean your trash.
    As for what is in it for me...common sense!! I hate it when there is stupidity in the world!! Instead of complaining about illegals - get the job these morons have, and, god forbid, do it better!! But, no - you are fine hating and complaining about how some poor kids ruined your life!