Yesterday when Microsoft announced the Xbox One, they also announced a partnership with the NFL that would see an immersive NFL experience come to the new console, as well as some Microsoft technology coming to sidelines next season. However, during the keynote, the company didn’t specify what exactly would be coming to sidelines, but now we that Surface tablets will hitting the NFL in a big way.
The Surface tablets will replace Polaroid photos that are printed out to show quarterbacks and other players what went wrong during a previous play. Surprisingly, this is still the case in 2013 — players don’t have access to instant replay displays on the sidelines, so they’re given printed-out photos instead. It works, but it’s really inefficient.
The tablets will not only be more convenient (as well as more interactive) but they’ll also cut down on costs for laminated paper and ink used for the hundreds of photos that are printed out each week. Coaches will also be able to use Surface tablets to replace their playbooks, although it might be a difficult transition for them, as printed-out playbooks have been the way for many years.
However, some coaches already use iPads on the sidelines during practices, and the Microsoft partnership won’t stop them from doing so, although they’ll be required to cover-up the Apple logo whenever they use them in a game, while Surface tablets won’t need covering up. In fact, even the replay booths that officials use to make a call will now have Microsoft branding on them.
Previously, the NFL had banned any kind of recording device or video player from being on sidelines, which is probably the reason behind all of those Polaroid photos being printed out, so using tablets during games was against the rules, since they can play back video and capture video as well. However, it seems the NFL is coming around to the idea of allowing such devices on the sidelines, and the NFL said that they’re all-in on changing the rules if it means bringing more innovation to the game.