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

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.

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