NFL, Microsoft partner to bring greater technology to fans and the sideline

The NFL and Microsoft have partnered up to bring technological improvements to the game. What could it mean?

Earlier this week, the NFL and Microsoft announced a multi-year partnership for the term five years and $400 million. The rich do indeed keep getting richer! This deal will let the NFL leverage the XBox One and Microsoft's "Surface" tablet.

Our sister site, Polygon, has a breakdown of some of the features of the XBox One side of things. They've got some video of the partnership and how it might work. The NFL press release was pretty basic:

The NFL on Xbox will provide fans with an all-new viewing experience through innovations around Skype and Xbox SmartGlass; an all-new, innovative fantasy football solution allowing fans to view players and live competition side by side on a single TV screen; and a personalized NFL destination featuring information about the players, teams and games fans care about most. Xbox also retains the exclusive rights to extend these interactive experiences to tablets, enabling fans to use Xbox SmartGlass technology to enhance game day.

The XBox stuff is pretty cool, but the more interesting aspect could prove to be the use of the Surface tablet.

This partnership also changes the game for NFL teams because coaches and players will soon have access to a variety of cutting-edge Microsoft solutions, including Surface tablets to enhance on-field communications, photo viewing and play calling. Microsoft and the NFL envision a sideline of the future with players reviewing in-game photos from different camera angles directly from the sideline and head coaches calling plays off connected Surface tablets instead of today's static paper products.

Jason Lisk of The Big Lead went into some details, but you can already start to see some of the potential involved with this technology. Lisk thinks it could allow teams to be more efficient, and it makes sense with the way you can input variables into the tablet. You can prepare for certain things with pen and paper, but having a Tablet brings so much more to the table.

And you have to think the 49ers would embrace this sort of thing. The team is already working with SAP to improve their scouting efficiency. I'd imagine Coach Harbaugh would like to find ways of improving sideline efficiency. That's been one area where the team could stand to improve. A full offseason of Colin Kaepernick starting will hopefully clean that up a bit, but it remains a big issue. The team needs to find consistency in their clock and challenge management.

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