Microsoft’s Surface tablets on the New England Patriots’ sideline broke down for a while during the American Football Conference (AFC) title game versus Denver Broncos, stopping coaches and players from using the devices to analyze the plays. Microsoft, however, pointed its fingers to a network connectivity problem as the trigger for the glitch.
Evan Washburn, CBS' reporter, originally revealed the problem during the game.
"They’re having some trouble with their Microsoft Surface tablets,” Washburn said. “On the last defensive possession, the Patriots’ coaches did not have access to those tablets to show pictures to their players.”
He went on to say that the officials had already been working at it. He also said that a few of the tablets had been back in use, but not all of them.
“A lot of frustration that they didn’t have them on that last possession,” said Washburn.
Since National Football League (NFL) guidelines require the Surface tablets to be shut down for both teams only when they fail to function properly ahead of the game, the Broncos were still permitted to keep using their tablets.
Officials were only able to repair the problem after about 20 minutes. The NFL then said that the tablets are “100 percent” working again.
Microsoft blamed the issue on the network.
“Our team on the field has confirmed the issue was not related to the tablets themselves but rather an issue with the network,” said the spokesperson.
The spokesperson also said that the moment the problem occurred, it worked alongside its partners who manage the network to ensure the problem was immediately resolved.
In May 2013, Microsoft’s Surface Team joined forces with the NFL as part of the Xbox announcement at that time.
“We were particularly excited on the Surface team about this opportunity because it gave us a chance to show how much more Surface can do,” said Microsoft. “The NFL is a great stage for Surface because Surface has the chance to help change the game, including how medical staff take care of players, coaches strategize, players learn, and referees, um, referee.”