Microsoft’s plan to takeover NFL sidelines fumbles on opening night

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Microsoft’s plan to takeover the NFL with its Surface tablets hit a few snags during the debut of its new Sideline Viewing System at last night’s Hall of Fame game between the Giants and Bills.

As part of the new Sideline Viewing System for the NFL, Microsoft is flooding coaching staffs with special Surface Pro 2 units that are designed to replace binders of printed photos, but according to Buffalo Bills head couch Doug Marrone, his team didn’t get access to the new feature.


“I was told mine was going to work, and mine didn’t work,” Marrone told reporters in a post-game interview. The issue was eventually remedied in the second half, but failed to help the Bills comeback from a 13-17 in the fourth quarter of meaningless preseason game.

Microsoft entered into a $400 million partnership with the NFL last year, allowing it to bring the Sideline Viewing System t0 every NFL game this season. Utilizing customized Surface Pro 2 tablets, the system gives teams instant access to photos of pre- and post-snap formations, so your team’s QB hopefully can figure out why he’s coughing up INTs like Tony Romo in the 4th quarter.

Microsoft hopes that some of the teams who have gone iPad-only will switch to the Surface after using the Sideline Viewing System, but NFL teams aren’t obligated to use the Surface Pro 2s. Teams will have it at their disposal if they want to integrate it into their workflow, or just ditch their iPads altogether, Microsoft owns all Surface tablets distributed to teams, and third-party apps aren’t allowed.

Once Microsoft fixed the issues during last night’s game, coach Marrone said he did “like it a lot,” but it appears Microsoft still has some kinks to iron out before the official season kicks off on September 4th when Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen’s Seattle Seahawks take on the Green Bay Packers.

  • jbelkin

    That’s the difference. MS spends $400 million to “sell” a few hundred Surfaces (only 32 NFl teams) while Apple sells them at full price to teams.

  • kavok

    They didn’t work. Imagine that… M$ fails again.

  • theappleogist

    Pity the coach/es who have been suckered into using these pricey paperweights. How many times will MS relaunch the Surface before they finally accept the fact that they can’t undo a flop? A total waste of marketing expenditure.

  • Sarcastic Curmudgeon

    Wah Wah.

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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