ESPN: NFL's highest-paid player describes Surface as an iPad knockoff

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler says, despite Microsoft's NFL sponsorship, that he has no idea who makes the Surface tablets or what they're called, ESPN reports.

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Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears says he has no idea who makes Microsoft's Surface. Squire Hogg/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If you're associated with the NFL, you should be thinking Microsoft and Bose.

Somehow, too many around the league can only think Apple and Beats.

The latest to offer his view of the NFL's tech sponsorship deals is Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. As reported by ESPN's Jon Greenberg, Cutler, the NFL's highest paid player in one calculation, used these words to describe his impression of the Surface Pro 2s that adorn game day: "Knockoff iPads."

It's hard to order the reasons to weep. First, you can call Surface Pro 2 many things, but surely no one could suggest it's an iPad copy. Not even Jony Ive.

Then there's the fact that NFL sidelines are plastered with Microsoft Surface logos.

It could be that Cutler is so deeply involved in the game that he's never noticed them. It could also be that his thought processes about technology are as ingrained as those of so many others.

After all, Microsoft has now admitted that it's coaching NFL announcers about the Surface, after too many of them referred to the product as 'iPad-like' or even simply "iPads."

Redmond is spending an alleged $400 million to entwine itself with the NFL. It certainly doesn't need quite this level of confusion.

Cutler reportedly admitted that the Surface tablets worked very well, but that he had no idea who made them or what they were called.

I have contacted both the NFL and the Chicago Bears to ask whether the report might lead to Cutler being sanctioned in some way. I will update, should I hear.

There's a certain difficulty in foisting particular brands on your employees, especially in sports. The NFL has already been wrangling with several noted players wearing Beats headphones, rather than Bose, with which the NFL has just signed a deal.

Still, what can Microsoft do? Educate and be patient. It's not as if it can suspend Cutler for a couple of games. Although that might be amusing.

Perhaps it could do a new ad called "Jay Cutler surfaces beyond one career playoff win."

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