Powering a better game

Changing the Game
49er Talanoa Hufanga celebrating a play on the field.

Talanoa Hufanga’s key to success

Talanoa Hufanga is a starting safety for the San Francisco 49ers known for his ferocious style of play. He was selected to the 2023 Pro Bowl Games in just his second season in the NFL. His “T” celebration after big plays pays respect to Polynesian culture and honors the island of Tonga where his family is from. He throws his Ts to celebrate the people behind him, including his mentor Jesse Sapolu, four-time Super Bowl champion and co-founder of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame (PFHOF).

Talanoa’s schedule may be tight, but he knows how to make time for what matters on and off the field. The key to his success is preparation. Tracking his routine from breakfast to working out helps him know what works and what doesn’t. Because the best ability is availability.

Honoring Polynesia’s greatest

Talanoa’s connection with PFHOF began in 2017 as a finalist for the High School Football Player of the Year Award. He won as an inaugural recipient, demonstrating exceptional ability and integrity. Since then, he’s participated in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl, in which top high school players from around the world gather to celebrate their Polynesian heritage and play the game they love. Talanoa was recognized as the 2020 Polynesian College Football Co-Players of the Year. Most recently, Talanoa was named 2022 Polynesian Pro Football Defensive Player of the Year.

The PFHOF and 4th Family recently partnered with Microsoft to host a 2023 STEAM event for 70 students at the Boys and Girls Club Nanakuli. Students participated in a mock NFL combine which tested their strength, ability, and stamina. They learned how to interpret the data behind their scores using Microsoft Surface devices.

Students were delighted with a surprise visit from NFL Legends and co-founders of the PFHOF, Jesse Sapolu and Ma’a Tanuvasa, and future NFL stars participating in the Polynesian Bowl. As part of the event, Microsoft donated 60 Microsoft Surface devices to four Boys and Girls Club locations across O’ahu, helping bridge the digital divide and strengthen learning.

A group of people looking at a computer.
John Scott, Co-Founder of 4th Family, connects with kids.
A group of people on a field exercising
Jamel Edwards, Director of Operations at 4th Family, guides kids through an NFL combine.

Polynesian Bowl

Microsoft is an official partner of the Polynesian Bowl, a premier high school football all-star game celebrating the world’s top high school football players. The Polynesian Bowl was broadcast nationally on NFL Network, creating exposure for the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame and highlighting the connection between Polynesian culture and football.

Microsoft Surface provided devices for players throughout the week in the Players’ Lounge. Offensive and Defensive Players of the Game were given Surface Pro 9s to kickstart their upcoming educational collegiate journey.

Tyler Lockett’s big plays

As a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, Tyler Lockett has become a franchise legend. In early December 2022 he set a Seahawks record for six straight games with a touchdown reception. He’s garnered the second most touchdowns in club history, making him a hero among “The 12s” in Seattle. Big plays like his are called during the game but refined weeks in advance.

The grind is getting smarter with each passing season of the Microsoft and NFL partnership. Windows and Surface are giving clubs a new level of insight. From drawing up plays to annotating game film, Windows empowers players and coaches to collaborate, review, and reimagine faster than ever.

Data in real time

On game day, Windows and Surface are on the field with star players like Tyler, Talanoa, and their coaches. Surface Sideline Viewing System (SVS) and Microsoft Surface Instant Replay (MSIR) enable coaches and officials to react and make changes after each play. The recent addition of Game Statistics & Information System (GSIS) to the SVS is giving coaches and players access to NFL-verified data like yards, tackles, and other performance metrics within moments.

Microsoft Teams is improving communication between players with virtual huddles as productive as those on the field. Clubs are using digital playbooks with film review no longer limited to the film room. Last minute pivots and changes are easy to share, preparing players to hit the field running.

We are constantly looking for ways to make our technology available to help support and amplify the great work that players, clubs, and organizations are doing.
James Bernstrom
Director of Sports Partnerships, Microsoft

The power of tech

The NFL and Microsoft share a desire to achieve better. Technology is being made more accessible for students in underserved communities, creating opportunities for kids to succeed in any field. Talanoa and Tyler can tell you greatness takes years of learning and preparation to manifest. That’s why they start with an organized schedule, enabling them to stay on top of their game. Microsoft is proud to help students and star players seize the day.