It looks like NFL commentators still don’t know which tablet players and coaches are using on the sidelines.
During the first half of the first game of the 2015-16 NFL season on Thursday night, NBC’s Al Michaels was talking about Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who happened to be using a Surface Pro 3 tablet on the sideline.
However, Michaels referred to the device as an iPad.
— Sam Z Comedy (@SamZComedy) September 11, 2015
Hah … “Bill Belichick on his iPad”
Hey Al Michaels that’s a Microsoft Surface! pic.twitter.com/DIQRyZjwq9
— Paul McGrane (@pmcg) September 11, 2015
Yes, I expect the NFL to reiterate to all broadcasters that it's a Microsoft Surface, not an iPad.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 11, 2015
Over/under how long until a Surface gets called an iPad on national TV. If you had 10 minutes you win!
— Patrick Christophel (@pchristophel) September 11, 2015
— Suave Christoph (@Suave_Christoph) September 11, 2015
How much did Microsoft pay to have the Surface as the official tablet of the NFL, only to have NBC call it an iPad the at first sight on TV
— Justin Lockhart (@jlockhart89) September 11, 2015
Thanks to Microsoft’s $400 million, five-year contract it inked with the NFL in 2013, players and coaches have access to the custom-built Surface tablets with an application that lets them be more efficient in how they review past plays. The idea is to replace the traditional paper black-and-white images of plays to analyze previous possessions, and instead use the waterproof tablets that allow for annotations on each photo with the Surface Pen.
The NFL introduced players and coaches to the Surface Pro 2 tablet last year, and this season Microsoft is upgrading the devices to a ruggedized, weatherproof version of its Surface Pro 3 tablet, which offers a bigger and thinner screen, lighter weight, clearer images, and a pen that can be used in four different colors.
However, it seems Michaels didn’t get the memo. This is a recurring problem for Microsoft — almost exactly one year ago during the 2014-15 season, commentators referred to the Surface as an “iPad-like tool.” It happened on more than one occasion last season, with Trent Dilfer calling the tablet an iPad during a Monday Night game, too.
You can bet that PR managers at Microsoft are quite peeved, especially since it looked like the problem was fixed for the latter part of last season. The Surface might be the “official tablet of the NFL,” but Apple is certainly getting some free publicity out of the entire deal.