American football is a very complex game. To advance their strategies and analysis, teams use whatever technological means available. One technology NFL teams have used are Surface devices from Microsoft. In 2014, NFL teams used custom made Surface Pro 2s to analyze information from the game. As reported by Engadget (via Windows Central), in 2015, teams will use the newer Surface Pro 3s and will try out a new feature.
During twenty pre-season games, teams will also test out the ability to review controversial calls by game officials using their Surface Pro 3s. Coaches can challenge many calls made on the field now but have to rely on their staff in the booth to review the film. With this feature, NFL coaches would be able to make that judgment with their own eyes.
While Surface Pro 3s allow teams to look at photos, draw up plays, and more, they may be supplemented by another Microsoft technology in the future, the Microsoft HoloLens. Augmented reality would provide a one of a kind experience for both NFL teams and potentially their fans. Quoted in CNET, the director of Sports and Alliances within the Windows devices group, Jeff Tran, said that the HoloLens is being “worked on with the NFL.” The HoloLens could have many applications for American football from training players to gaming.
Technology and the NFL are a perfect partnership. The almost insatiable thirst for more information and immersion into the game by teams and fans creates a demand for these new technologies. In addition the Surface Pro 3 and potentially HoloLens there are also new apps on the way for the Xbox One and Windows 10. These will display in depth analytics such as the distance and speed of players thanks to motion capturing by Zebra Sports solutions. Those apps will both be ready by the 2015 NFL season.
Microsoft has a strong partnership with the NFL, a multi billion dollar industry with millions of fans tuning in. It’s a smart move by Microsoft to place their products front and center during NFL games and analysis.