Super Bowl Sidelines Are Smartphone-Free Zones

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Because of the established 2013 partnership between Microsoft and the NFL, all but one product is allowed on the sidelines.

The Super Bowl may be an Instagram-worthy event to document, especially for those who are lucky enough to make it onto the sidelines, but the NFL is saying no to smartphones for coaches, personnel and players on the gridiron.

In May 2013, Microsoft Corp. and the National Football League partnered in a multiyear deal that provides the electronics company the exclusive rights to the field and has dubbed them the official sideline technology sponsor. Because Microsoft paid the big bucks for the rights ($400 million), only the Microsoft Surface Tablet can be used during games and for one sole purpose: looking at still photos.

Aside from the Surface, all other smartphones and tablets must be kept off the sidelines during NFL games.

According to a press release from Microsoft, the technology giant explained their reasoning for the allowance of only one device: "Microsoft and the NFL envision a sideline of the future, with players reviewing in-game photos from different camera angles directly from the sideline and head coaches calling plays off connected Surface tablets instead of today's static paper products. With Microsoft technology, NFL coaches, players and other personnel will have the technology they need to improve decision making and on-field performance."

It is unclear how the NFL, Microsoft and the University of Phoenix Stadium will monitor players, coaches and personnel for Sunday's big game. Microsoft and the University of Phoenix Stadium did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks will face off on Sunday, Feb. 1, for Super Bowl XLIX at 3:30 p.m. on NBC.

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