If you weren't paying attention during the 2013 NFL season, then you may not know that Microsoft was partnered with the league. But if you watched even one game, then you'd be hard-pressed not to figure it out. Sidelines contained ad banners and advertisements for Microsoft products ran quite a bit during TV coverage of each game.
The deal will continue this season, which is fast approaching, as pre-season games are about to kick off, so to speak. While teams used Surface tablets last season, it was mostly for the mundane tasks of playbooks and gameplans. This season promises much more functionality.
Coaches will be able to instantly review plays from the sidelines using a Surface Pro 2. This should enhance the ability for decision making, when it's unclear if the red challenge flag should be tossed onto the field.
But it goes a bit deeper than that -- players can watch previous opponent formations to get an idea of what to expect. That's something that was previously done during the week in a film room, but every game is planned slightly different by each team, so there are sometimes new formations.
While details of Microsoft's deal with the NFL have not been made public, sources have speculated it is for five years and worth $400 million. So expect the ads to continue this season, and perhaps games to be a bit more challenging, given computer help.