The NFL’s arguably crankiest coach is once again venting his frustration with technology as New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick swears off the use of tablets on his sidelines.
Despite finally gaining ground in public awareness, thanks in large part to a multi-million-dollar deal with the NFL resulting in its presence on all 32 team-sidelines, the Surface tablet is still arguably struggling to win the admiration of some players and coaches.
Ironically, it was a question about Belichick’s headset malfunctioning during last Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals that sparked a five-and-a-half-minute-long rant regarding his feelings on technology on the sidelines, the use of tablets, mainly the Surface.
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 there just isn’t enough consistency in the performance of the tablets. I just can’t take it anymore.”
Belichick continues for another four minutes, and the entirety of his rant was captured and posted by @ZachCoxNESN on Twitter. Suffice to say; Belichick is done, not only with the Surface but much of what he deems as added “complexity” to his sidelines.
The crux of Belichick’s complaint comes from the league not providing access to the tablets or other equipment until the day of the games, thus limiting the staff’s ability to maneuver on the fly when things breakdown or processes get bogged down.
Interestingly enough, fans of opposing NFL teams will argue that when Belichick and the New England Patriots have early or prolonged access to equipment, it usually ends in another league-wide scandal for the team. Most notable is the 2007 Spygate scandal, in which the New England Patriots were found guilty of videotaping the New York Jets practices in the week leading up to their game. Earlier than the 2007 Spygate scandal were claims from Hall of Fame quarterback Doug Flutie that in 2005, the Patriots were abusing a helmet rule that enabled quarterback Tom Brady to continue to receive instructions well beyond the allotted 15-second snap count. Doing so, allowed Tom Brady and the Patriots to work through the exact defense being shown on the field, something no other team had been known to abuse beforehand.
"But the worst part is that we're having a tough time hacking into our opponents tablet systems."
— Mike Headley (@LnStrngr) October 18, 2016
Regardless of the controversies surrounding the New England Patriots, or the pension to crack jokes about Belichick’s refusal to use tablets, the fact remains that the Surface along with most other modern technological equipment used by the NFL need to be more reliable. In a sport won by inches and seconds, Surface tablets, stadium wifi, audio signals and Bluetooth need to be as reliable, if not more so, than the technology and processes its replacing.