By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Microsoft unveiled it’s next generation gaming console XBOX ONE and with it a partnership with the NFL. A partnership that will set Microsoft back some $400 million over the next 5 years. While XBOX ONE is being touted as a way to improve the viewing experience at home, the bigger question is, when we see tablet’s on the sidelines how will they effect the game?

Back in December we published a piece about what it would take for tablets to become a fixture on NFL sidelines. One of those questions was ‘who is going to pony up the money?’ Well we now know who that is now. While most thought it would be Apple or Samsung, Microsoft made the move and a very smart one at that. $400 million to have everyone see a Surface and Microsoft logo on every sideline in the NFL? Might be a steal.

The question remains, how will this effect the game? Does this mean that players will be able to look at video vs photos now? Is this going to be an all in one device where coordinators talk to players via Skype while looking at video of previous plays vs being on the phone and looking at photos?  What about security? Is there going to be a dedicated WiFi signal for each sideline and is that possible in every NFL stadium? How is a Surface going to react to the rain and snow of Buffalo in December?

Surface Sidelines

Various NFL committees will have to be involved from the Competition committee to the Digital Media committee just to name a few. One thing is for sure, tablets on NFL sidelines is going to happen. 2014 season? Good bet but the 2015 season seems like a lock.

By comparison, MLB is still studying an instant replay system.

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