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You’ve know you’ve struck a chord with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick when he takes more than five minutes to answer a single question.
The topic that got him all riled up on Tuesday? Tablets.
It appears Belichick is ready to chuck his Microsoft Surface into the junk drawer. NFL teams can use the devices on sideline as a supposedly quicker — and better — way during games to view plays, formations, all-22 shots and the like. The interactive software is meant to give coaches an edge on adjusting strategy. But based on Belichick’s comments on Tuesday, it sounds like he’s going back to old school: pencil, paper, Polaroid and his brain.
Check out what he said about the tablets, not the least of which was that they were “undependable” and that he ‘can’t take it anymore.” It’s the purest gold, and the impeccable timing of Belichick’s becoming a grandfather last night gives this rant a lovely get-off-my-lawn quality. Among the highlights:
• “As you probably noticed, I’m done with the tablets. I’ve given them as much time as I can give them. They’re just too undependable for me. I’m going to stick with pictures as several of our other coaches do as well because there just isn’t enough consistency in the performance of the tablets, so I just can’t take it anymore.”
• “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.”
• “This is all league equipment so we don’t have it. I mean we use it but it isn’t like we have the equipment the day of the game, or I’d say not the day of the game but a few hours before the game and we test it and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Usually by game time it is working but I would say not always.”
(The full transcript is below)
That said, there could be a below-the-surface (get it?) agenda at play here, too. The NFL has a deal with Microsoft for the Surface to be the official tablet of the league. And Belichick certainly doesn’t miss an opportunity to throw shade at Park Avenue, which, you know, took his quarterback away for a quarter of the season. Fond of saying “why don’t you ask the league about that” anytime there’s a controversy at hand, Belichick took a more verbose route here — and did so my slamming a product the NFL is making money off of.
Of course, he slammed it in a different way — quite literally — a few weeks ago: out of frustration during a loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Naturally, Microsoft didn’t take Belichick’s slam of its product without offering a rebuttal, saying:
Even if there’s no hidden agenda in his hatred, none of this should be shocking. Belichick is an infamous Luddite — a man who is open to new ideas and approaches but apparently scared to death with anything that has a CPU. Then he’s more likely to defenestrate the damned thing.
Watch this amazing clip from the 2011 “A Football Life” that tipped us off to Belichick’s disdain from his car’s bleep-bloop.
And remind us why Belichick should feel any differently? The man gave the tablets a chance, poking away at them for hours during games for years now, and he’s decided it’s not for him. Besides, the results on the field speak for themselves.
It’s the Patriots, and everyone else: Week 6 recap
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