How many of you out there have noticed all those Microsoft Surface tablets that are used on the sidelines during NFL games? This is due to a huge deal between the NFL and Microsoft. The idea was these tablets can replace some of the old school tech of looking at pictures and drawing on a board. However, Microsoft was put on the defensive after Patriots coach Bill Belichick decided to stop using them.
Just weeks after Belichick got frustrated and smashed a Surface on the sidelines, the coach has decided he is done with the devices. “I’m going to stick with pictures, which several of our other coaches do, as well, because there just isn’t enough consistency in the performance of the tablets. I just can’t take it anymore,” said Belichick. Sounds like he’s had enough.
Microsoft, of course, couldn’t stand by without commenting on what the coach said. In a blog post, Microsoft’s Windows and Devices corporate vice president, Yusuf Mehdi, stepped up to defend the use of the Surface tablets in the NFL. “We love the NFL. We love the game, the players, the coaches, and the fans,” explains Mehdi. “We have deep respect for the teams – and the IT Pro’s who work tirelessly behind the scenes to help them succeed.”
The post went on to include many quotes from players and coaches about how the Surface has changed the game and made life on the sidelines a little easier.
For example, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints had this to say: “You can imagine with a 15-play drive, there would be like 40 pages worth of stuff,” said Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. “The staple wouldn’t go all the way through, and photos would be dangling and falling out, and then you’d have two plays and have to go back out on the field. Now you walk to the sideline and it’s seamless. With Surface, I can make plays instantaneously.”
And Brandon Fisher, Los Angeles Rams Defensive Backs Coach said the following: “We live and die by Surface on the sidelines. When we’re not on the field we are adjusting and everybody is surrounding the one Surface. That’s our livelihood on Sundays. It’s so helpful to have four focused pictures we can zoom in on, rather than two black and white Polaroids.”
The even included a quote from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We are proud of our relationship with Microsoft. We think they have a great product and they’ve done a great job in advancing technology into our game and influencing our game. It is changing the game. It’s changing for the better.”
Still, it seems that not everyone is happy with the performance of the devices. It should be noted this isn’t the first time there has been a problem with these devices on the sidelines and not the first time Microsoft has had to defend the use of the Surface tablets during games. It probably won’t be the last. Still, overall, many do seem happy with it. However, as far as the Patriots are concerned, it seems they will be going back to old fashioned pictures and dry erase boards, at least for now.