Bill Belichick: Tablet malfunctions ‘a pretty common problem’

Bill Belichick acknowledged that the tablet issues the team dealt with in the AFC Championship Game is a recurring problem.
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

By Darren Hartwell

FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick isn’t about to be a spokesman for the Microsoft Surface anytime soon.

NFL teams use the Surface during games to review film and make adjustments, but the tablet garnered some unwanted attention Sunday when the New England Patriots’ devices reportedly malfunctioned in the first half of the team’s AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

The issue was quickly resolved, according to CBS sideline reporter Evan Washburn. But Belichick says it’s not the first time he’s had trouble with the tablets, which the NFL first starting using in 2013.

“It is what it is. It’s a pretty common problem,” Belichick said Monday in his season-ending press conference. “We have ways of working through it. There’s really nothing you can do. It’s not like the headsets, where the other side is really affected. You deal with what you deal with.”

Several opposing coaches have said they dealt with headset problems while playing the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, including theKansas City Chiefs’ Andy Reid and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin. That’s another issue for another time, but Belichick reiterated that technical difficulties with tablets is a pretty widespread issue, although he insisted that didn’t play a factor in New England’s 20-18 loss Sunday.

“We’ve had it at home, we’ve had it on the road, other teams have had it,” Belichick said. “It’s a fairly common problem. That didn’t affect that outcome of the game in any way. But it’s just part of it.”

Belichick added the Patriots have a contingency plan in place: They’ll print out images of plays, a protocol every NFL team followed before tablets took over.

“Yeah, we take those as a backup. Absolutely,” Belichick said. “Or, in some cases, we use those in lieu of the tablets. In some senses, that’s more dependable.”

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