Microsoft was right when Jeff Tran said that any team not using technology this year would be left behind. The director of Sports & Alliances marketing for Microsoft was referring to when the Surface Pro 4 replaced Surface Pro 3 on the sidelines for the NFL's Superbowl 50.
In a recent feature post from Microsoft, the device was said to be praised by coaches, players, and NFL staff alike. More specifically how the Microsoft Surface had improved the ability to watch replays and share tactical data. The Surface Pro 4 provided to all of the teams is improved with a longer battery life, anti glare screen, and a solid pen. The device is also fitted to be protected against the weather. Each of the thirty-two teams even have their own unique NFL Type Cover which took nearly three years to make.
There have been a couple of setbacks on the sidelines, however. In the past, the tablets were wrongfully accused of costing the Patriots the game due to the device's performance. It actually turned out that the error was on the network side of things. Even Bill Belichick made a statement that the technology behind the Surface was 'good when it works'.
Overall, the Microsoft and NFL partnership seems to be a solid one. Defensive coach for the Los Angeles Rams swore that the Microsoft Surface was invaluable to the team on the sidelines. Offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, Scott Linehan, praised the ability to watch video replays compared to the previous used still shots.
“When you watch the video, you don’t see still shots pre-snap and post-snap. You see the whole play. So you can actually say, ‘He started in the B-gap but came around to the C-gap, they actually looked like three-deep zone but really it was a form of two,’ because you get to see the whole play. You don’t get to see that until Monday morning generally. It’s a really good tool for the quarterbacks.”
The players and coaches aren't the only ones that benefit from the partnership. Microsoft's campaign to advertise through professional sports reaches nearly 190 million people every week. As Jeff Tran said, it impacts the most popular American sport. “The NFL partnership is our first significant foray into a major sport on a mega level,” Tran said in the post.
Perhaps this means that we'll be seeing more sports and technology partnerships. What other sports do you think might be in Microsoft's sight?