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CNET was invited to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on December 1 to check out some of the tech employed by the NFL: namely, this season's Surface tablets.

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These are Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 tablets, designed with extra weatherproofing and better daylight visibility, plus a ruggedized outer case.

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The tablets replace the older method of physically having to print out pictures of every play. That system is still in place as an alternative.

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Not everyone chooses to use the Surface, and printers remain on the sideline in case of an emergency.

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CNET's Scott Stein with Microsoft's Product Marketing Director James Bernstrom.

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The Surfaces run a custom operating system designed for use in the NFL: photos of every defensive and offensive play are stored in a sort of digital binder.

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Different members of the staff can have different profiles, to store specific plays and unique annotations.

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With its ruggedized case on, the Surface Pro 2 is definitely bulky and heavy. But that's what the rear hand strap is for.

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A view of one of the two types of photos delivered to the tablet: an eagle-eye 50-yard-line view.

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The Surface stylus isn't capacitive, and works well even on a water-spattered screen in 45-degree weather.

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We had no idea how to draw up actual NFL play notations, but we did our best.

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The ruggedized case is supposed to make the Surface safe to drop, too.

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Another look at an end-zone view of the field delivered to the Surface. This was before the game, so actual plays weren't loading on the tablet yet.

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Trying to get a good grip.

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Battery life is meant to last through "the course of a game." Based on what we know about Surface Pro 2 tablets, that seems fair.

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A weatherproofed and heated charging cabinet to keep the tablets safe in seriously bad weather.

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The 13 tablets allotted to each team can be rack-stored and charged simultaneously.

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In the event that wireless networks go down, this unit is hard-wired to load photos directly onto the tablets when plugged in.

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Maybe these tablets will do more than just deliver still photos in the future, but right now that's all NFL rules allow for.

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Holding one in the driving rain, just like an embattled NFL coach.

For more on how the NFL uses of tablet technology, check out our full story

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