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August 4, 2014

Surface is ready for the NFL sidelines

Last year, we told you about Microsoft’s groundbreaking new partnership with the NFL and how excited we were to show the world how much Surface can help the league be more productive.

After a successful first season that saw prominent Surface by Microsoft branding on communication carts and instant replay booth hoods during every preseason and regular season game, Surface is now ready for the next step – in-game team usage on the sidelines.


An NFL sideline is one of the busiest places on the planet. In addition to 50+ players, dozens of coaches, team personnel, trainers, support staff, media members, cheerleaders, equipment and more pack tightly into roughly 8,000 square feet.

Within the sea of controlled chaos, you’ll often notice your favorite quarterback thumbing through pages of images between each offensive series. What’s happening here amounts to a human chess match. You see, teams use printouts of pre-and post-snap photos from each series to identify the rights and wrongs of previous possessions, as well as to strategize ways of effectively attacking opposing defenses.

Currently, team personnel have to print out each individual image, bind them together and physically run static paper photos to coaches and players… and it’s repeated dozens of times throughout each game.

Our goal with this NFL partnership was to leverage our technology to make the game more efficient, productive and competitive. Streamlining the photo viewing process is our first step toward that goal.

For the 2014-15 NFL season, beginning with the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, August 3, NFL teams will now be equipped with Surface tablets and our Sideline Viewing System (SVS) App. Working off that same digital feed that is being sent to a printer, the Surface SVS App captures those images and delivers crisp, full-color, images in near real-time to Surface tablets on the sideline.


Not only will NFL teams get these images in faster, but they’ll be able to use Surface’s dynamic touch display and capabilities to pinch, zoom and make digital annotations. Teams will also be empowered to categorize plays by offense, defense, and special teams and deliver a summary view of the results from each series.

Why does this matter? In a game where adjustments happen on the fly and the narrative can change in an instant, time is of the absolute essence. Surface technology will deliver images 4-5 seconds after the completion of each play. Printed black-and-white images on paper take up to 30 seconds to reach players and coaches. Not only will images via Surface be delivered in near real-time, but the Sideline Viewing System App provides more detailed, high-resolution images including with the capabilities to zoom-in and make digital annotations.


We’re very excited to embark on this next step of our journey with the NFL and can’t wait to see how Surface will help players, coaches and teams Do More on the sidelines during games this fall.

Keep your eyes peeled for Surface tablets in the hands of your favorite NFL players, and be sure to check out the NFL app on Xbox One for the ultimate interactive viewing experience.