Surface Pro 2 to catch NFL games from the sidelines

The NFL will be employing modified Surface tablets on the sidelines of games beginning this season. As part of an existing deal with Microsoft, the NFL will deploy Surface Pro 2 tablets beginning with the Hall of Fame game today. The tablets, modified externally with a thick blue case, will be used to review plays instantly. Each sideline will have a temperature-controlled cart of Surface tablets, which will remain locked up at the stadium when not in use during games. Additionally, the tablets will be locked down to prevent cheating, according to Engadget:

Moreover, Microsoft says the Surface Pro 2s are owned by the NFL and not the teams, telling us that the tablets were heavily modified inside and out. Sure, these devices are capable of handling water, snow and extreme heat temperatures, but here's one thing they can't handle: third-party apps. In other words, don't expect Johnny Football to be Instagramming while he's warming up on the bench. Along those same lines, the Surface tablets on the field operate under a private network created by the NFL, which is how the league plans to keep the sensitive photo-viewing app closed off and away from any potential intruders.

What do you think of the NFL using Surface tablets during games? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Engadget, Bloomberg

87 Comments
  • Very interesting. They certainly set them up in a smart way.
  • Wow that is awesome...
  • On the surface this sounds great.
  • I see what you did there ;)
  • Whatever gets the name out there.
  • Ha ha that's cool comment
  • Finally NFL got smart!!!
  • Surface Pro 2+NFL=A prefect marriage. Excited about the season.
  • ARE YOU READY SOME FOOTBALL!
    This is actually good MS marketing. See guys they can do it.
  • Right? +Icon
  • +5800 XpressMusic
  • If they were a bit smarter they'd be sponsoring the Seahawks stadium instead of centurylink.
  • There are a couple stadiums up for bid, sponsorship wise. They should jump on one. I am game for anything MS and football. Looking forward to the updated Xbox app too.
  • The Johnny football thing was copied from one of the sources, I remember reading that line earlier...
  • Johnny football = Johnny manziel
  • Yeah this article is copied from Engadget
  • That's some good advertisement.
  • Absolutely! :)
  • Uh, I thought the point of "good advertisement" was to promote new products, not a discontinued one. 
  • This...
  • That's a very good point. Anyone seeing these on the side lines will then have issues going to MS store and getting one. What happened to the old 'Win Sunday, Buy Monday' type thought?
  • In that case they need to get with Mercedes AMG Petronas and get Black Berry off that car and put WP :)
  • It's the surface line. It doesn't matter that they are 2's. I just heard this on the news. They simpley said "Microsoft Surface". So what's your point?
  • To get you tuned up 
  • Your comment makes no sense... does not compute.
  • hopefully they won't need wifi for reviewing those scenes...
  • ^ this lol
  • Surface was a great choice if they don't want apps on them! ....I kid, I kid.
  • Excellent!
  • Silly marketing idea. Won't look anything like a Surface. And won't run anything a Surface can run. People will not be able to relate. I suggest Microsoft sticks to commercials and real product placements.
  • Hush that's a fantastic idea, and let them market whatever they want to market.
  • That's what I was thinking but at least they aren't using an iPad
  • Right
  • It's not marketing but this deal could be used in future marketing. In other words, nobody is even going to know the NFL is using surface tablets until Microsoft mentions it in some future commercial. Kind of like how Duracell mentions NASA or the coast guard in their commercials.
  • I see what you're saying, but me and millions of people saw the NFL use them last season on the NFL pre-game shows that came on every week. And they mentioned the tablets that they were using, so if that's not marketing then I don't know what it is.
  • Well, if it's actually mentioned during NFL games, then that's even better.
  • Maybe more dancing Catholic girls? That worked so well...
  • It's not marketing. NFL made a deal aka bought them and did some special stuff with them.
  • Are you kidding me? 400 million in the packet and MS branding all over the place. This a win win for MS for every single place you look at it.
  • Why not the Surface Pro 3. Just curious.
  • My thoughts too, but they probably got the pro 2 on the cheap. I wonder why they just didn't use the rt 2 with it being so blocked down to save a few more pennies. Maybe cause it would need more coding? I dunno.
  • You're probably right..
  • Speed ands x86 functionality would be my guess. The RT flavor is fine for basic and light tasks. But I wouldn't trust it in this situation
  • Because they had to do something with all of their unsold SP2 inventory!
  • I understand now
  • The deal was made in 2013. The tablets had to be specially made for them. So, the pro 2 was what they paid for.
  • Ok
  • Liquidation. They probably dumped tons of them to the NFL for like $400 each...Nobody is really buying them anymore with the SP3...got to get rid of them somehow.
  • Ok cool.
  • Is nobody gettin this?! they were supposed to launch the mini in may. they decided that wasnt the best course of action and then had to come up with a product asap. sp3 should've come with broadwell but they obviously didnt have that ready so they pushed out the sp3 with haswell in a nice body so people were still interested in something. hyello?!    
  • my guess is timing. Takes time to develop custom software, networks, training and the SP3 would not have been ready in time.
  • also custom rugidised cases - they take time too
  • Please Xbox music update give us give us i am starving for it
  • I live just 10 minutes from the hall of fame. Interesting and if I walked up there I'd be on the lookout for them.
  • Anyone see the Gizmodo article about this where they said the surface pro 2 is tech that lags behind the latest iPad? I laughed.
  • http://gizmodo.com/nfl-players-are-saddled-with-sideline-surface-pros-th...
  • LOL! Epic!
  • LMAO! Someone needs to call him out on Twitter.
     
  • How come the SP2?
  • Why not Surface Pro 3?
  • Timing. These deals take more than a couple of weeks to put together.
  • Unsold SP2 inventory
  • Wrong. This deal was put together when the SP3 didn't exist. They put this together when the SP2 was top dog. All that custom software, etc doesn't happen as a weekend project.
  • Because the Surface Pro 2 fit the bill and is more cost effective.
  • This has Bill Belichick hack scandal written all over it!
  • I can see it happening. Belichick in his hoodie, with the cut-off sleeves, wearing his usual emotionless scowl, sitting in front of a computer trying to hack into a Surface holding the Jets' playbook.
  • You should read the crap article about this at Gizmodo claiming that the iPad has better specs. Ridiculous.
  • Comment of the day!
  • Pretty neat I must say
  • "lagging behind latest iPad specs" LOL made my day, thanks
  • Hahahahaha! xD
  • That is absolutely brilliant
  • What do they mean by "locked down to prevent cheating"?
  • It means they're policies in place on the OS to prevent installation of applications other than what the NFL wants and to prevent tampering of the systems files. The NFL doesn't want Anyone spying on what the teams (coaches) are doing with them. Think playbooks and communication.
  • "Upon further review..." Surface tabs will Only be providing instant playback that allows players to draw on the videos and images John Madden style. I stand corrected. Beside myself ; )
  • Honestly sounds like the Surface 2, or any other tablet for that matter, could've achieved this just as easily. Don't get me wrong: This is cool and I'm glad Microsoft is getting their brand out there, but this also sounds a bit disappointing since pretty much any tablet could've done this. What an expensive waste of the Surface's potential.
  • Yeah, now go watch the new iPhone ad and you'll see it being used in ways only the iPhone can. Apple gets it.
  • Why are you disappointed? It just doesn't make sense. It's like you're emotionally invested in the Suface as if it were your child not living up to their potential. Are you hiding something from us? Did you father the Surface?
  • Time for me to send the NBA's mobile department another scathing email for dropping their WP app. I can use this as ammo. Threaten to organize all Windows ecosystem users into abandoning the NBA.  
  • Write whatever email you feel is appropriate, but don't threaten them. It hurts the case you're trying to make and also makes you look bad. Just my advice.
  • Interesting that they chose the 2 rather the 3.
  • It's capabilities fit the bill and is more cost effective.
  • The Surface Pro 2 has the performance and capabilities that an iPad lacks, smart move by the NFL.
  • Now this is some great marketing! I can't wait to read some articles related to Surface sales increasing as the NFL season goes on.
  • Why not the P3?
  • Fox sports used them the last two seasons Terry, Howie, Micheal and those boys. I'm surprised they didn't get noticed in this forum.
  • If your using your WP this article should end with "let us know in the comments to your right"!