Patriots coach Bill Belichick is fed up with Microsoft Surface tablets


Patriot's head coach Bill Belichick slams Microsoft tablet during game.
Patriot's head coach Bill Belichick slams Microsoft tablet during game.
Photo: NFL

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is giving up on the NFL’s experiment putting Surface tablets on the sidelines during football games.

The usually tight-lipped coach unleashed a five-minute rant against Microsoft’s bug-ridden tablets during a press conference today. Belichick said he just can’t deal with the Surface’s problems anymore, so he’s calling an audible and going back to good old paper and three-ring binders.

“As you probably noticed, I’m done with the tablets,” Belichick told the press this afternoon. “There’s just no consistency. I’ve given them as much time as I can give them. I just can’t take it anymore.”

Microsoft Surface and the NFL

Microsoft’s partnership with the NFL has been plagued with problems ever since the Windows-maker put its tablet system in coaches’ hands in 2014.

Many head coaches have reported that the tablets go offline in the middle of games. Meanwhile, TV announcers keep calling the devices “iPads” during broadcasts.

The $400 million marketing campaign for the Surface tablets has turned into a full-blown fiasco, and Belichick isn’t the only coach that despises Microsoft’s system.

Players like Aaron Rodgers and Johnny Manziel have been spotted punishing the tablets during games. Other head coaches have ditched the tablets in favor of notebooks and highlighters.

Update: Microsoft was so concerned about Belichick’s negative review that the company released the following statement to Cult of Mac:

“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.”

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  • iSRS

    Choose the right technology for the job is always top priority. This is what I tell my customers. Sometimes, that technology is hundreds of years old. It might just be pen and paper.

    That said, I am quite sure that the NFL took who would pay them for the opportunity, and eliminate the possibility of of teams deciding what works best for them.

    This isn’t a Microsoft specific issue, either. I worked with a school who had a 1 to 1 iPad program. It was a disaster because they didn’t fully support it right. They wanted iPads. They didn’t want to hear about what all was involved in actually being successful.

    • Grits n Gravy

      Tax dollars at work, or using up grant funds so they can reapply for it the following year.

      Education funding is completely broken.

      • iSRS

        It was a new school. The “school of the future” it was billed as for them county. Done in one of the higher income areas of the county. The plan was all 4th and 5th grade students would have one. No text books, they’d all be on the iPad. Reduce the number of library books needed to be purchased, subscribe to a book service like OverDrive or the like. Homework would be done on the iPads.

        So textbooks were ordered for the other grades. Library was stocked. Then the “technology” budget got cut. No library books for 4th and 5th reading levels. No textbooks for them, either. And they didn’t purchase the apps.

        They ended up scrapping the program. Parents didn’t like that they didn’t see text books. Or the homework as easily.

      • That’s a shame. Ideas are no good without proper implementation.

    • CelestialTerrestrial

      I would agree that technology has to be implemented/supported properly for the value proposition to be realized. I used to work for several large corporate resellers of computers/networking, etc. and it was rare to see Microsoft based computers implemented and supported properly.

      But unfortunately, even the best laid plans don’t get proper implementation/support. That’s unfortunate, but I would tend to say that a lot of schools (not all) have piss poor IT staff. Maybe what they SHOULD have done is gone to a school that is SUCCESSFUL and try to emulate the things they did and hired the right people to do the implementation/support.

      I’ve seen plenty of customers try to do their own implementation, and they would fail almost every time, because they didn’t have a best practices approach as they were too cheap to implement one. So they ended up paying more due to constant mistakes on their part.

      Check out last year’s IBM presentation they gave at JMAF conference. It’s on YouTube and it seems as though they did their homework and spent the money, bought the right management software, hired qualified people to implement a best practice approach to ensure a great implementation of Apple products and for them, it seems to be paying off in a big way. I’m sure out of any customer, IBM knows how to implement PCs. After all, they were the first DOS/Windows based PC mfg. So, if IBM has problems with Windows based PCs, and they don’t with Apple products, that tells me that Microsoft based computers DEFINITELY suck.

  • CuJo YYC

    The CFL uses iPads.

    • TrueNorth_Steve

      CFL – hahahaha – they have like 4 teams lol

      • CelestialTerrestrial

        And Apple didn’t pay them $400 Million to shove iPads down their throat either. Apple doesn’t pay for these types of customers, Microsoft does.

      • CuJo YYC

        Well, if ‘like 4’ means 9, then yes.

      • TrueNorth_Steve

        well we do need sit fillers and wasting time throughout the year or it would be a short season with the usual 4 teams. lol

  • Everyone’s Horrible 2016

    Maybe use a different product.

  • scott ronan

    I won and iPad Air 2, a MacBook Pro and a Surface Pro and they all do what i need them to do well. The Surface works well for work but when I need absolute reliability for Doing my radio show and club nights its all about the MacBook pro with the Air as a backup.

    • TrueNorth_Steve

      my client was hosting a gig in a night club the machine controlling the fireworks, lights, lasers froze and video during the concert- it was a forced MS upgrade to 10 – which wasnt compatible with the gear after – and during the club performance – on the big screen was windows update status.

  • TotoCatcher

    The Surface is like everything in Redmond, its designed by multiple committees, outsourced largely, and then it’s essentially abandoned after it ships. That’s just the way MSFT operates and the new CEO hasn’t changed that.

  • Reasonablecash

    Wait, you’re telling me a bunch of old school coaches, who are as resistant to new tech as they are to claims of head trauma, prefer old school notebooks and pens over tablets? GTFO right now! Give them iPads and watch the same damn thing happen. The Surface is a good piece of hardware, so this makes me think there’s something F’d with the actual App they are using.

    • Richard Ludwig

      Ehhhhhh….. The hardware is okay. I had to take my SP3 in twice before I got a good one. Beyond that, Windows is terrible to rely on. I can’t even rely on using the Surface for taking Notes in OneNote – it has dumped my notes multiple times forcing a re download of all my notes – once in the middle of a conference! That was the breaking point for me – OneNote on the iPad Pro is FAR more reliable.