In 2014, Microsoft inked a deal with the NFL for them to exclusively use the Surface Pro 2 on the sidelines. The devices were meant for the various coaches as a tool to replace the tried and true printer and paper method of years past. Now, instead of printing up plays and grainy images, coaches can use sanctioned photos along with the Surface's pen to go over plays and adjust strategy.
Tonight at a preview event for CES, Microsoft was on hand to show off the combination all-weather case for the Surface Pro 2 and the massive storage sheds where the device gets charged and stay protected.
The case itself is a hardy, well-built design with a strap for the hand on the back. Although the famed Surface kickstand is inaccessible, the Surfaces that reside in these cases can withstand the rain and snow with ease. Combined with the bright Cyan look and these Surfaces are hard to miss.
When not in use, the Surfaces get stored in the NFL-branded cabinets, which are super tough (and heavy). The cabinets are made here in the US by Anthro. If that name sounds familiar it is because they also make my standup desk, which I reviewed over the summer (Anthro is based out of neighboring Oregon, making them a great partner for Microsoft).
Those cabinets include built-in chargers, their own network for receiving data, and are even climate-controlled with a built-in air conditioner for those hot days (and can heat up if super cold as well). Anthro is no stranger to building this kind of equipment as they make stripped down versions of these Surface cabinets for schools and hospitals.
The NFL and Microsoft partnership is certainly one of the better promotions that Redmond has engaged in, even if it had a rough initial start.
Finally, for those asking, there are no immediate plans to sell those rugged NFL cases for the Surface Pro 2. Part of the reason is it is only for the Surface Pro 2, which is no longer widely available. Another issue is more about message: that case inhibits the kickstand of the Surface, which is fine for the NFL, but is at crossed paths for Microsoft's main message of their unique two-in-one. For now, you will just have to appreciate them from the sidelines.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.