New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is sick and tired of using tablets on the NFL sidelines, arguing that Microsoft's Surface tablets are "just too undependable."
Belichick announced on Tuesday, Oct. 18, that he's just done with the tablets and he'd rather stick to more traditional approaches such as flipping through pictures instead of relying on Microsoft's technology.
When a reporter inquired about the tablets malfunctioning, Belichick lashed out and went on a five-minute epic rant detailing his deep displeasure using the Surface slates.
"As you probably noticed, I'm done with the tablets. They're just too undependable for me. I'm going to stick with pictures, which several of our other coaches do, as well, because their [sic] just isn't enough consistency in the performance of the tablets. I just can't take it anymore."
Microsoft's deal with the NFL aimed to deliver technology that would replace print-out pictures of formations and plays and make the whole process easier. However, there have been some hiccups that prompted Belichick to return to the old-fashioned pictures rather than keep using the tablets.
In the AFC Championship Game from 2015, for instance, the tablets on the New England sideline malfunctioned and stopped working altogether. After the game, Belichick said it was not a single or rare incident, but more of a rather common issue.
More recently, Belichick threw a fit on camera and bashed a tablet into a bench after the Surface devices on the sidelines stopped working. The coach explained that they faced issues with the slates at every game, which became really frustrating. Sometimes the issues affect just one team, sometimes they affect both teams.
Moreover, Belichick highlights that the Surface tablets are league equipment, but the team members don't own them so they could take them home and learn more about how to use and troubleshoot them. They simply get the equipment when they have a game, and oftentimes malfunctions occur.
This long rant is uncharacteristic of Belichick, who is usually more reserved, but the frequency of the tablet malfunctions eventually got on his nerves — hence the rant.
Belichick doesn't claim to be very tech-savvy or know a lot about the technology, but he does point out that it works only rarely as it should. At the same time, the coach feels the NFL may not be placing much urgency on solving these issues.
Microsoft, for its part, says that while it respects Belichick's decision to stop using the Surface, it stands by the tablets' reliability and usefulness. The company points out that it continues to get positive feedback regarding Surface devices on the sidelines and when issues occur, it works closely with the NFL to handle them as quickly as possible.