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Patriots head coach punting Microsoft Surface from sidelines, going back to binders

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has given up on the Microsoft Surface for game planning, and has emphasized the point with a five-minute diatribe on the failings of the NFL-mandated device and associated IT nightmares.




Speaking to NESN's Zack Cox, Patriots coach Bill Belichick derided the tablets, with complaints extending far beyond simply praising football traditional tools, or a rocky rollout of the program.

"I'm done with the tablets, They're just too undependable for me." Said Belichick. "I'm going to stick with pictures, which several of our other coaches do, as well, because their just isn't enough consistency in the performance of the tablets. I just can't take it anymore."

"Inevitably, something goes wrong somewhere at some point in time," added Belichick. "I would say weekly, we have to deal with something."



Belichick pointed to the league's ownership of the hardware as a primary problem, preventing Patriots IT staff from fixing a situation. The teams are provided the gear in the hours before the game, and evidently, it only functions sporadically after being handed over by league officials, leaving little time to pinpoint and rectify the problem.

"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," said Microsoft in a statement about the matter. "In the instances where sideline issues are reported in NFL games, we work closely with the NFL to quickly address and resolve."

In October 2014, Microsoft paid $400 million to the NFL for the exclusive rights to be the league's sole provider of tablets for use during the game, including Surface carts with integrated Wi-Fi for on-field use. However, nearly immediately, game play-by-play announcers called the devices "iPad-like tool" tablets on more than one occasion.

In the end of the 2015-2016 season, the playoff game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots may have been affected by a high-profile breakdown of Surface connectivity, ultimately pinned on a wide-spread Wi-Fi failure.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball has an agreement with Apple to provide the iPad Pro for locker room, and dugout use. As of yet, there are no widespread complaints about the underlying technology like there has been about the NFL's adoption of the Surface.