Earlier this week, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick gave a five-minute-long answer for why he’s given up on using the NFL’s official Microsoft Surface tablets, saying “I just can’t take it anymore.”
In a new blog post, Microsoft goes on the defensive over its three-year long technology partnership with the NFL.
Without naming Belichick directly, Microsoft says that the Surface is better, faster, and more efficient than the paper printouts that NFL players and coaches were using before (and that Belichick is now using again).
Microsoft goes so far as to quote NFL star quarterbacks Drew Brees and Russell Wilson and LA Rams coach Brandon Fisher over their love of the Surface.
“Every second counts and having Microsoft Surface technology on sidelines allows players and coaches to analyze what our opponents are trying to do in almost real time,” says Wilson. “With Surface, I can make plays instantaneously,” says Brees.
One of Belichick’s big frustrations wasn’t about the Surface itself, but rather around the complexity that technology like the tablets introduces to the business of coaching. Back in January, the Surface appeared to fail during a game between Belichick’s New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos — but the real culprit turned out to be a Wi-Fi failure in the stadium.
Microsoft addresses that, too, calling the job of handling IT for the NFL “one of the toughest IT jobs on one of the world’s biggest stages.”
All in all, Microsoft wants to make one thing clear: It’s really hard to provide technology for the NFL, given the ever-changing conditions and the pressure of making sure it performs reliably in front of the league’s vast live and televised audience.
The Redmond giant even packs in a joke about Johnny Manziel’s infamous head-bashing Surface moment, which, incidentally, didn’t break the tablet: “Every game is different – with some teams living by their Surface for critical plays at key moments – and others using them to blow off steam by banging their head on them,” Microsoft writes.