NFL’s Problems Below ‘Surface’


Microsoft,“the official sideline technology sponsor of the NFL,” has been hard at work coaching sports broadcasters to refer to their Surface Pro tablet by name and not by its Number 1 competitor, Apple’s iPad.

There have been numerous instances of sportscasters referring to the Surface as an iPad. ESPN’s Trent Dilfer made remarks about the tools Arizona Cardinals assistant coach Tom Moore was using during a broadcast of Monday Night Football.

“And, look at this, Tom Moore. Tom Moore, one of the legendary coaches in this league, working with Carson Palmer, look at him going through the iPad,” Dilfer said, “I wonder how long it took him to learn the iPad to scroll through the pictures.”


During a Fox NFL Sunday broadcast on Sept 7, John Lynch said in regards to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who was using the Surface on the sideline, “He’s not watching movies on his iPad. That’s part of the new NFL as well. They have gotten rid of the pictures, and now they have the iPad-like tools.”

Listen to Lynch refer to the Surface as an iPad here.

Back in May 2013, Microsoft announced its new $400 million, five-year deal with the NFL. The deal gives Microsoft the title of the NFL’s “Official Sideline Technology Sponsor” while Microsoft has committed to developing new interactive ways for fans to enjoy the NFL experience through Surface and other Microsoft products.


Microsoft logos can be seen all over NFL fields during broadcasts, but how successful can a partnership of this size be if the main communicators of a broadcast aren’t even familiar with the product they will have to plug? Microsoft addressed the messaging issue in a statement to Business Insider.

“It’s true, we have coached up a select few,” a spokesperson for Microsoft told Business Insider. “That coaching will continue to ensure our partners are well equipped to discuss Surface when the camera pans to players using the device during games.”



According to Microsoft, the issue of sportscasters referring to the Surface as an iPad has been addressed and handled and ever since, there have been no more mistakes on behalf of broadcasters.

The interesting thought here is why are tablets, in general, referred to as iPads? Did Apple do such a good job of grabbing the consumer’s attention that iPad is synonymous with brands like Kleenex and Band-Aid? Or were the broadcasters unaware of what types of tablets the players and coaches were using? Do you think there is hope for Microsoft to market a tablet to the masses that is seen as something different from Apple’s iPad?

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