NFL Sidelines To Receive Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Upgrade This Season

Are you ready for some football? It's tough to see summer come to an end, but as a consolation prize, a new NFL season waits in the wings and there are plenty of story lines to make this upcoming season a memorable one. But we're not here to talk about a ticked off Tom Brady exacting vengeance on the field or how Adrian Peterson will fare after missing all but a single game last season.

Instead, this is about Microsoft's continued efforts to gain exposure for its Surface line through a partnership with the NFL. For the upcoming season, coaches on the sidelines will receive Surface Pro 3 tablets to replace the Surface Pro 2 slates they used last year. They'll be weather-proofed to protect from rain and snow, and like last year, coaches will be limited with what they can use the Surface for.

Surface Pro 3

Coaches will benefit from bigger screens and a whiteboard mode for concocting plays on the fly. The tablets will also be lighter than the ones they used last year. In addition, the NFL is toying with the idea of video replays on the Surface Pro 3, with coaches being able to zoom in and annotate videos with the included stylus. However, that functionality will only be tested during the preseason -- once the regular season rolls into view, video replays will be off limit, at least for this season.

Microsoft has spent millions of dollars getting its Surface slates in the hands of NFL coaches and commentators. However, things didn't get off to a smooth start. On more than one occasion, commentators and announcers would refer to the Surface Pro 2 tablets as iPads, while Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler called them "knockoff iPads." At one point, CNN anchors were found to be using the Surface as nothing more than an iPad stand.

We don't expect to see any such gaffes this season, but like Kevin Garnett once said, anything is possible.