/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

Monday Night Tablet: Close-up with an NFL Surface tablet (photos)

From a rainy night on a football field, a closer look at Microsoft's NFL-purposed tablets in action.

Dan_Graziano2.jpg
Scott_Stein.jpg
Dan Graziano, Scott Stein
dsc07307.jpg
1 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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.

dsc07319.jpg
2 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07361.jpg
3 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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.

dsc07320.jpg
4 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07412.jpg
5 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07340.jpg
6 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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.

dsc07341.jpg
7 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07346.jpg
8 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07351.jpg
9 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07353.jpg
10 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07356.jpg
11 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07357.jpg
12 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07372.jpg
13 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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.

dsc07379.jpg
14 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

Trying to get a good grip.

dsc07391.jpg
15 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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.

dsc07312.jpg
16 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07434.jpg
17 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07435.jpg
18 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07453.jpg
19 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

dsc07398.jpg
20 of 20 Dan Graziano/CNET

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

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
The new Genesis G90 looks incredible

More Galleries

The new Genesis G90 looks incredible

6 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

67 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

65 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos
Best dating apps of 2021

More Galleries

Best dating apps of 2021

13 Photos
2022 Bentley Bentayga S is sporty and serene

More Galleries

2022 Bentley Bentayga S is sporty and serene

40 Photos