NFL referees will no longer go under the hood to review plays on the field

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 2:  National Football League referee Bill Vinovich #52 looks at the monitor in the instant replay booth used to review challenged plays before a game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 2, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Steelers defeated the Ravens 43-23.  (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

The NFL has announced that it will replace the sideline replay monitor with a handheld device.

Referees beginning next season will watch replays on the field using Microsoft Surface tablets, eliminating “going under the hood” to review plays on television monitors, according to the Associated Press. Referees on the field will be able to assist in replay decisions, relinquishing the final decision that will now be made by designated members of the Officiating department as part of a centralized process.

“We’re pleased to build on our partnership with the NFL and help lead the digital transformation of the game with today’s approval of NFL referees conducting video reviews on Surface this upcoming season,” Jeff Tran, director of sports marketing and alliances at Microsoft, told the Associated Press.

“The introduction of Surface to this aspect of the game will improve consistency and accuracy of decisions and also speed up the overall review process to enhance the viewing experience for fans.”

Microsoft announced a partnership with the NFL in 2013 to bring the Surface tablet technology to the league while highlighting the product for consumers. The tablet was in the news last season after New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick voiced his frustrations.

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