The NFL has big plans for technology in the future, and guess who’s in the middle of it? None other than 59-year-old golden oldie Joe Montana, the 49ers’ legendary quarterback.
In the last two years, Montana and tech giant Microsoft have developed a chummy relationship. This summer, the company plans to release the Joe Montana Football 16 video game, which could give Madden NFL 16 a run for its money.
On Tuesday, Montana was part of the Future of the NFL panel discussion at Moscone West, where Microsoft officials offered a hint of the future.
“One of the things you can’t see on the field is what the quarterback is actually looking at,” Montana said. “There’s just no experience like it. If you can give that fan the experience of being on the field on a Sunday afternoon, it would change how they see the sport.”
That experience is soon to come, Microsoft says. Players have been outfitted with sensors that track data, and combined with live-streaming video and HoloLens reality technology, fans will be able to share their vision before long.
Montana regretted that more advanced technology wasn’t available back in the day, because it would have made the team flights more productive. Years later, Surface tablets provide instant access to replays for players and coaches on the sidelines.
Microsoft reports the tablets have seen nearly 100,000 minutes of play without a glitch. And it didn’t crack even when Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel banged one in frustration against his head, probably the thickest object one will ever meet.
BRONCO SENT HOME: Panthers radio analyst Eugene Robinson gave his team some free advice on how to handle Super Bowl week, but Broncos safety Ryan Murphy never got the message, apparently.
As an Atlanta Falcons safety, Robinson was arrested for solicitation of a hooker on the eve of Super Bowl XXXIII. The Broncos abused his team one day later, and the veteran never forgot “the worst night of my life.”
On Tuesday, Murphy and his brother were detained and questioned as part of a prostitution sting in San Jose. Murphy was released and not charged before the Broncos sent him home. He was a member of the practice squad.
“Although Murphy was not cited by police, we decided it was best for the team if we continued our preparations for Super Bowl 50 without him,” the organization said in a statement. “Ryan is returning to Denver, but his status as a practice squad player has not changed at this time.”
Robinson knew the feeling too well.
“It’s easy to lose your way when you are selfish and thinking about yourself, and that’s the only thing you are thinking about,” said Robinson, who spoke with the Panthers’ players last Sunday. “And that’s what I did. To hear the word solicitation is still painful for me. I’ve got to call it what it is. I don’t try to sugarcoat it …
“If a team beats you, that’s different. But if you beat yourself, that’s criminal. I allowed myself to beat myself and to beat the team, and that was criminal.”
NORMAN CONQUEST: Panthers cornerback Josh Norman has been known to grate on people, and the victims include teammate Cam Newton, no shrinking violet himself. The two went at it in the preseason, and the confrontation might have helped set the tone for the season.
“I don’t know,” Norman said. “Both guys don’t want to lose. Both guys want to go out on top. Both guys are aggressive in their approach and they want to be great. And when you have that, those two guys go at each other like that, one throws a touchdown, the other one comes back and intercepts the ball, it’s hard at practice. They both have a super-high level of competition to the point where they get a little heated.
“Sparks start to fly, and once those sparks start to fly and release our greatness that came from, we got closer. I know I’m a lot closer to my quarterback than I ever was on this team. I think that was probably the case, and I think it was bound to happen and it happened in such a great way.”
Denver Broncos wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas should expect an earful this weekend.
“Absolutely,” Norman promised. “It’s a mental warfare out there, brother. We’re not out there picking daisies. We’re out there giving it to them. However they want it, they can get it.”
WHERE’S J.T? Jim Tomsula hasn’t been heard from since the Niners told him to take his $10.5 million and beat it. But the Broncos’ Vernon Davis assures Balls he will be heard from again — as an NFL head man, no less.
“For sure, yeah. For sure,” said Davis, the ex-Niners tight end. “I strongly believe that.”
Added Davis, “Jim Tomsula was an awesome coach, great person, good character. He was all about integrity. He was just a phenomenal man and coach. It was just that, unfortunately, it didn’t go the way he planned, but he’ll bounce back. He’ll get another gig.”
Defensive line coach would suit him just fine.
SOD STORY: The biggest question of the Super Bowl isn’t whether it will be Peyton Manning’s final game. It’s the cost to lay down 75,000 square feet of new turf at Levi’s Stadium. The West Coast Turf product is custom-grown on plastic.
“It was requested that we keep the cost confidential,” spokesperson Danielle Scardino said in an email response. “However, you may ask the NFL.”
So if Balls wanted to do his yard with the stuff, how much would it cost per square foot?
“You don’t want to do your yard with this,” league field director Ed Mangan said. “It’s too much work involved.”
Suppose Balls won the Powerball jackpot …
“You can’t afford that,” Mangan said.
Translation: upward of six figures.
DURANT UPDATE: Whispers grow louder that the Warriors have the inside track in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, although Balls isn’t so sure about that.
Durant claims his Oklahoma City Thunder have what it takes to knock off the Warriors in the playoffs, and even if Balls doesn’t buy that one either, why would he want to bolt after the season?
It would take some creative tinkering to bring Durant to the Bay Area — the contracts of Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala likely would have to be moved — but the Champs do have enough flexibility to get it done. Durant also is said to have the Los Angeles Lakers on his radar, but only if teammate Russell Westbrook joins him. Otherwise, it makes zero sense to join a godawful team that has no immediate future
THE LIST: Odds on Manning’s next profession per MyTopSportsBooks.com:
Broadcaster/television analyst: 3-1
NFL team coach: 15-1
College coach: 33-1
Movie actor: 50-1
Saturday Night Live cast member: 70-1
One-man Broadway show: 80/1
Commercial production company CEO: 90/1
TV pilot star: 100-1
NFL team owner: 300-1
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