Bill Belichick, New England Patriots coach recently said that Surface devices are not reliable for the job they are doing on the NFL sidelines. His statement started the debate on the role of technology in the NFL, with different opinions shared from coaches and players. Microsoft today shared some additional context from their perspective.
Microsoft said that every week nearly 2,000 Surface devices are deployed at 34 stadiums, and used extensively at over 330 NFL games each year. Surface devices have become ubiquitous on NFL sidelines and in the coaches’ booth, and more than half of NFL franchises are using Surfaces end-to-end, as playbooks, to watch video and as a laptop replacement in their front office to handle the administrative duties of running the team.
Why deploying Surface on the sidelines of NFL is tough?
Consider the office environment of the NFL – an action-packed 8,000-square-feet sideline full of players, coaches, team personnel, media, cheerleaders and equipment. Bringing technology to any new environment is a complex job – but the NFL sidelines are among the most intricate, visible and stressful. When teams enter a stadium each week, the IT teams assess power sources, network connectivity strength and availability, potential extreme weather conditions, and the range of tech familiarity and acumen of coaches and players.
Amidst the chaos, each week a team of NFL IT staff rolls out the equipment – sets it up to each team’s specifications; connects network and communications; tests the systems; simulates games between the test cameras and the video directors to test the systems end-to-end; recharges devices; ensures appropriate protection from all sorts of extreme weather conditions; and helps the coaches and players get familiar with the set-up.
Microsoft also mentioned that change can be hard and technology adoption typically has a growth curve. So, they are working with some of the best IT professionals in the industry at the NFL to help with the transition.
Read the full post from Microsoft here.