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Coach Bill Belichick says Surface tablets on the sidelines are "too undependable"

By Shawn Knight · 21 replies
Oct 18, 2016
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  1. Technology is often designed to make life a bit easier but that certainly hasn’t been the case for New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

    During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Belichick was asked about a report that claimed the Patriots’ headsets had malfunctioned during Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Rather than simply answering the question, Belichick used the opportunity to share his thoughts about using Microsoft Surface tablets and other technology on the sidelines.

    In short, Belichick said he is done with the tablets as they’re too undependable. He said he gave it his best shot and that he tried to work through the process but they just don’t work for him as there isn’t enough consistency in their performance.

    The Patriots coach explained that most of the technological equipment they use on the sidelines belongs to the league. What’s more, they often don’t get access to the Surface tablets and other devices until just a few hours before a game. Sometimes the equipment works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    If teams had access to devices earlier, they’d no doubt have more time for testing in an effort to get everything working come game time. Doing so, however, could give a team an unfair advantage so it’s not allowed.

    Microsoft inked a five-year, $400 million deal with the NFL back in 2014 which made its Surface tablet the “official tablet of the NFL.” As part of the agreement, coaches and players on the sidelines would use Surface tablets to view photos of formations from previous plays.

    Before tablets, teams utilized printers on the sidelines that would print out black-and-white images of the previous formations to give coaches a better look at how their players and those on the other side of the ball are lining up before the snap. Belichick said he would be going back to this old-school method.

    In response, Microsoft issued the following statement on the matter:

    "We respect Coach Belichick's decision, but stand behind the reliability of Surface. We continue to receive positive feedback on having Surface devices on the sidelines from coaches, players and team personnel across the league. In the instances where sideline issues are reported in NFL games, we work closely with the NFL to quickly address and resolve."

    Permalink to story.

  2. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 2,145   +1,221

    Nice clickbait, Shawn. It wasn't about just the surface tablet, it was about technology in general in sports. I expect no less of an Abble fanboy such as yourself.

    And I'm sure a team such as the Patriots would find any excuse for playing poorly. "yeah, we suck because of technology" says the old man. (notice how I didn't say surface as implied by the title).

    yeah, way better....

    "hey, coach, we can't make this play until we replace the toner"
    "great, I'm going to have to waste a time out!"
    stewi0001 and Skidmarksdeluxe like this.
  3. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,161   +548

    Sometimes "old school" works better. If you watch a video on aircraft carriers, you'll see inside, the guys still use colored nuts and bolts to represent the aircraft moving around on the deck, instead of "hi-tech" because the computerized stuff is too slow.
    alabama man and Skidmarksdeluxe like this.
  4. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 833   +411

    Plus it's easier to get mil-spec nuts and bolts than mil spec computer equipment.
    alabama man, mbrowne5061 and p51d007 like this.
  5. You know the saying for desktop computers where the error is usually found between the keyboard and the chair? Same idea here I suspect if no one else is complaining.
    Burty117, Arris, m4a4 and 1 other person like this.
  6. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 410   +256

    Not sure what your problem at. it seems you quickly typed your thoughts while just finishing reading the title. It was all in the article and the reference that he was talking about was the MS surface. The teams are using MS tablet, and the old school coach does not like the technology which was the tablet as it seems unreliable to him. So whats the hate about the writer here. Unless, the team is using other brand of tablet which you can add a reference then I will like your post.
    alabama man and ScubaRhys like this.
  7. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 2,145   +1,221

    You don't know me very well, do you?
  8. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 538   +164

    I could see the issue with not being given the equipment until right before the game, hopefully the league can work out a better system of maintenance before handing the tablets over to the teams.
  9. umbala

    umbala TS Maniac Posts: 197   +176

    Old people and technology don't mix. I'm sure if they gave him an iPad instead of a Surface there would be no problems, you know because an Apple product "just works". <end sarcasm>
    Hexic, Chazz and Arris like this.
  10. bea108

    bea108 TS Enthusiast Posts: 34   +9

    Most of the problems Belichick is talking about is on the it side. They also experience loss of use of the headsets during games too. Other teams have complained as well but the headset issue has been going on for a long time. Hell, if they can't get headsets to work, how can they expect to get later tech to work?
  11. Not surprised, I used to work in live sound production and all the computers used for the shows are macs mostly because of reliability. You can't have your computers fail during a show!
  12. bmw95

    bmw95 TS Addict Posts: 162   +113

    Yeah their software is a lot more reliable and consistent than Microsoft's. Kind of a shame though that's starting to slip a bit.
  13. Chazz

    Chazz TS Evangelist Posts: 679   +74

    Bill is a coach that is too old school for even the media. He hates them, doesn't respect them and will treat them like **** just because... This is more about the old school legend doesn't like new tech. Much like the article previously on techspot stating the creater of Li-Ion hates smartphones.

    This had little to do with Microsoft and they shouldn't have been mentioned as the main factor, let alone the title..., or even on this site for that matter
  14. Wizwill

    Wizwill TS Enthusiast Posts: 49   +12

    GIGO (Garbage In - Garbage Out)
    Computers are power steering for the mind. They still need someone to turn the wheel. Many non-technically aware users are unable to synergize with assistive devices, thinking a 'magical' result will be obtained and that the end product will somehow be greater than the sum of its parts.
    You have to work it to make it work.
    "Computer Wheel Alignment" seems to offer a better product. However, if the tech can't adjust the parts the as computer readout mandates, it's no better than manually-measured setups.
    mbrowne5061 likes this.
  15. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,513   +900

    I'm siding with @yRaz on this one. My impression from the article is that the coach isn't very tech savvy and he didn't get enough time to learn how to use it properly before the game. "Belichick said he is done with the tablets as they’re too undependable." I would bet he would have said the same thing even if it was an iPad, thus the title of the article is misleading.
  16. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 581   +159

    Ignoring the rest of your post, the Pats are 5-1 and leading the AFC East (tops in the AFC overall as well). Not a lot of excuses needed. Your post implies the Pats "suck" when they're actually doing quite well.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,154   +394

    Well I partially agree... I have had my SP3 for two years now and it has certainly had reliability issues. Many reliability issues involve the touch screen. I've had all kinds of crazy issues from dead zones on my screen (which I still get frequently), from simply no longer responding to touch at all. The Windows 10 operating system as well has had plenty of bugs. Recently I ended up having to reimage my SP3 after a botched 1607 update which eventually resulting in no user being able to login. Luckily I work in IT and have a lot of patience so I have worked through it, but honestly if I didn't have IT knowledge and I just had to have the device work.... I would have given up on it early on. Sure firmware updates have helped some, and now it is fairly solid but it still has issues.
    Phr3d likes this.
  18. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 894   +261

    "Belichick was asked about a report that claimed the Patriots’ headsets had malfunctioned during Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Rather than simply answering the question, Belichick used the opportunity to share his thoughts about using Microsoft Surface tablets and other technology on the sidelines."

    The coach was talking about all tech on the field just like yRaz said not just the Surface.
  19. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 410   +256

    He uses a MS surface during work therefore it is common sense that he was referring to the tablet. It is so simple. You might referring to the other gadgets but the tablet is exclusively used for NFL. You must understand that MS has the contract exclusively with that NFL that players and staff should use MS Surface only on the field.

    The writer was right to mentions MS surface because that is the only gadget that they hold to connect to player and team stats. There was even an article about a football player criticizing the tablets. Dont mention headphones as they use that before even tablets were born. So the comment was just against the writer for identifying the brand of the tablet.
    alabama man likes this.
  20. alabama man

    alabama man TS Maniac Posts: 317   +185

    Dead fingers work only in glove mode. Give him tablet with that option enabled and he will stop complaining.
  21. alabama man

    alabama man TS Maniac Posts: 317   +185

    Just give them their own tablets. They don't cost anything to manufacture and getting them to actually use the product would be good for microsoft, maybe next time they wouldn't need to pay for people to use their products.
  22. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,102   +419

    They can't. Use of the tablets are regulated by the NFL.

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