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That thingamajiggy that Eli Manning is scratching his family’s legendary forehead over is the Microsoft Surface, the tablet of the future for NFL teams. Last year, Microsoft reportedly paid $400 million to become “The Official Sideline Technology Sponsor of the NFL,” while the Surface and Windows became “The Official Tablet and PC Operating System of the NFL,” respectively. What that meant was that teams and star players would be using the Surface on the sidelines during games to review plays and analyze mistakes that were being made within seconds of them happening, all while fans were being clobbered over the head with reminders that Microsoft is everywhere.
Hell, the Microsoft Xbox even showed up as the sponsor of last Thursday’s NFL Kickoff Concert in Seattle, as Pharrell and Chris Cornell put on shows for the fans, who were undoubtedly hypnotized by the endless barrage of product placements. So you’d think that with all of that money spent on getting the Surface in front of our faces that the NFL would have sent out at least one memo to the networks to make sure that this specific sponsor was mentioned by name. If anything, someone might have written “Please don’t call it an iPad!” and emailed it to the announce teams.
If that did happen, Fox’s John Lynch didn’t get the memo, because he went ahead and called the Surface tablets “iPad-like tools” during yesterday’s Saints-Falcons game. Whoops.