Surface on the sideline: how tablets work at an NFL game
Hi I'm Scott Stein and I'm here on the field at Metlife Stadium at a very rainy beginning to a Jets Dolphins Monday Night Football game.
And we actually are here to take a look at what happens on the sidelines this is well before kick off.
But there are Surface tablets that have been deployed here in this past season and these are the first time that there have been tablets as opposed to the more traditional system of printed out plays.
So, what happens, technologically, on these sidelines?
Are these tablets full featured, stat heavy things?
No, they're actually much more targeted.
Simplified play delivery mechanisms that show you pictures of what's going on on a play by play basis.
Before we had these still prints where, you know, between each series, we had guys running out and handing these black and photos.
And you know, for a couple years we had the color, high definition photos.
But now they just hold onto it, and they're standing there, in series, right after a play pops up.
Believe it or not some of the older guys really embraced it.
Like we didn't expect our offensive coordinator to dive right in.
We thought he was gonna hesitate to jump in to the technology for sure.
And he grabbed it and he loves it and it's a go.
And you can't use cell phones on the sidelines.
You can't use a lot of technology.
So the instance of tablets is new and interesting.
What you see from the floating cameras and the special bird's eye views and the, the glowing sidelines and the yellow markers.
That stuff, that's for TV production.
The, what the coaches get access to is a much more simple system that could get more complicated as time goes on.
So the coaches are gonna have a setup that they wanna see and each coach could be a little bit different from special teams or offensive, defensive coordinators.
So they, before the game starts have a preference.
That preference is then loaded in.
And so whatever they're seeing from the either sideline or the endzone cams, what they wanna see, coaches would have to wait-
The other advantage is like they can take it into the locker room, at halftime
Do things in the locker room, where again, they're not carrying binders and paper, they just have it in their device.
So I'm a NFL coach.
I'm standing here in a soaking wet sideline.
I'm using a tablet.
But this thing actually does work in the rain.
You can annotate with this.
the, the file thankfully does write in, in pretty rainy conditions here very well.
This is the only technology that you're gonna see.
They're not gonna pull out a cell phone, or anything else like that.
So, what they're doing, is, they've got their headsets they'll be communicating with.
They've got their tablets.
And, and they've also got, the still shot system, as well.
But then, also, their independent networks.
You couldn't take this, for example, and go walk over to the other sidelines, and even get on their system.
I think the biggest challenges really were the ability to work in the harsh environment.
Requirements of the n f l.
But that's why you have this.
It's a, a heated, and weather controlled charging station for these tablets.
That also acts as a backup, incase the wireless isn't working, you could actually load the photos from each play, inside this, this hardwired connection right here.
I've been out here probably about an hour and you can see how wet I am.
So you can imagine a three hour game.
How wet the electronics get.
So it's gotta hold up.
But that's a view and quick look at how the NFL action works on Surface tablets and some of the tech that goes on on the field.
I'm Scott Stein, you're in Met Life Stadium getting ready for kickoff.
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