Bill Belichick Is Done Using Tablets In Football Games, Doesn’t Mention If It Makes It Harder To Spy On Other Teams
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is no fan of the NFL’s deal with Microsoft to use Surface tablets on the sidelines of NFL games. Case in point…
But now he’s officially over it, despite the fact that the NFL has a gazillion billion million dollar deal with Microsoft to integrate the technology into games. Here’s his full rant on the Surface Tablet via Zack Cox:
“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. The other communications systems involved the press box to the coaches on the field and the coach on the field — the signal-caller — to the coach-quarterback, coach-signal caller system. And those fail on a regular basis. There are very few games we play — home or away, day, night, cold, hot, preseason, regular season, postseason — it doesn’t make any difference. There are very few games where there aren’t issues in some form or fashion with that equipment. And again, there’s a lot of equipment involved, too. There’s headsets in the helmets. There’s the belt pack, that communication. There’s a hookup or a connection to an Internet service, or that process and so forth with the coaches in the press box. There’s a number of pieces of equipment. There’s a number of connections. They’re on different frequencies. Again, not that I’d know anything about this, but as it’s been explained to me, there’s a lot of things involved, and inevitably, something goes wrong somewhere at some point in time. I would say weekly, we have to deal with something. Dan Famosi is our IT person, and he does a great job of handling those things. This is all league equipment, so we don’t have it. We use it, but it isn’t like we have the equipment during the week and we can work with it and (say), ‘OK, this is a problem. Let’s fix this,’ or, ‘That’s not how it works.’ We get the equipment the day of the game — or , not the day of the game, a few hours before the game. We test it, and sometimes it work [sic], sometimes it doesn’t. Usually by game time it is working, but I would say not always. And then during the game, sometimes something happens and it has to be fixed. And first of all, you have to figure out what the problem is. Is it a battery? Is it the helmet? It is the coach’s pack? Is it the battery on the (coach’s pack)? It could be one of 15 different things. So I would just say there are problems in every game. There were problems last week, but there were problems the week before that, too. Some are worse than others. Sometimes both teams have them, sometimes one team has them and the other team doesn’t have them. The equity rule that’s involved there on certain aspects of the communication system but not on all aspects, meaning what happens on one side, then the other team has to have the same. If ours are down, then theirs have to be down, and vice versa. But that’s only true in certain aspects of the communications system, not everything. Overall, there’s a lot of complexity to the technology. There’s a lot of complexity to the multiple systems. I know on our end, Dan does a great job to fix those as quickly as possible. He has very limited access. I don’t know how much urgency there is on the other part — from the league’s standpoint — how much urgency there is for them to have everything right. I don’t know. I’m not involved with that. But, yeah. It was a problem last week. It’s basically a problem every week. The degrees aren’t always the same, but we’re usually dealing with something. But as far as the tablet goes, there was an experiment in a couple of the preseason games — it was one preseason game; we actually had two, because it was our home game and Carolina’s home game — where we had video on the tablets. But for me, personally, it’s a personal decision, I’m done with the tablets. I’ll use the paper picture 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. Long answer to a short question, sorry.”
At the time of this printing, Belichick didn’t confirm or deny whether or not NFL teams using the Surface makes it harder to cheat. I’m sure said personal team technology makes it much harder to videotape other team’s signals during critical times like Super Bowl XXXIX.