Belichick faces new foe in Microsoft Surface

Bill Belichick has faced many opponents in his coaching career. Now he has taken aim at another target: the Microsoft Surface. We all saw Belichick try and smash a Surface to smithereens a few weeks ago.

Today he went on an absolute diatribe about why he is staying away from the Surface and going back to good old paper print outs. Here is Belichick’s entire statement that you can click into the tweet to make it larger.


If you don’t want to take the extra click. Here are the important quotes:

“As you probably noticed, I’m done with the tablets. They’re just too undependable for me. 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. … For me, personally, it’s a personal decision, I’m done with the tablets. I’ll use the paper pictures from here on, because I just have given it my best shot. I’ve tried to work through the process. But it just doesn’t work for me, and that’s because there’s no consistency to it.”

Just what a sponsor or partner wants fans to hear about their product. They lack consistency, are undependable, and Belichick is giving up. He is done using the product.

The problem is Microsoft paid the NFL $400 million for a five-year deal in 2013 to be the official tablet of the NFL. That’s $80 million a year, not chump change. It’s real money that is supposed to help Microsoft reach NFL fans, and hopefully convince them to buy a Surface instead of an iPad.

The NFL and Belichick haven’t seen eye to eye on many issues. Right now, Belichick can’t rely on his Surface. Some of that may to be due to Gillette Stadium’s technology infrastructure. Gillette Stadium is notorious for having WiFi issues — ask any reporter how the WiFi works — and radio issues. This week the Patriots ditched their own headsets/communication system for old fashioned hand signals. Apparently it’s not a nefarious conspiracy when other team’s technology doesn’t work, because it doesn’t work for the Patriots either.

What Belichick is doing is bad for the NFL’s business. He couldn’t care less, but the NFL will care. He is essentially trashing a very public, very well-known sponsor. The Patriots still have three nationally televised games and the chance to be flexed into more games during the season. It is not going to look good if Belichick is not using the Surface. If Belichick isn’t using the Surface, his coaches and players may not use the Surface. That is a waste of money for Microsoft. Furthermore, the broadcast team likely would make reference that he has decided to not use the Surface.

There’s no league rules or bylaws that force Belichick to go Surface over printouts. There’s nothing the league can really do other than apologize to Microsoft. Sure the NFL could place a call to Robert Kraft and ask him to ask Belichick to avoid answering any questions, but the comments were already said publicly. In fact, it’s a major story trending on blogs, websites, and social media. By the way, that YouTube video above is posted from the NFL’s official account. So the NFL is promoting that one of it’s coaches hates one of its sponsor’s products. Ugh.

Remember that for several weeks broadcasters were mistakenly calling Surfaces iPads. The entire relationship may not have been worth the headaches it’s caused for Microsoft.