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Microsoft says a Surface that survives Johnny Manziel could never have failed the Pats

Mark Hachman | Jan. 27, 2016
If there were any justice in the world, Surfacegate would be the entire plotline of the new X-Files.

surfacegate clip
New England Patriots officials stare forlornly at a trio of Surface Pro 3 tablets during their playoff game against the Denver Broncos. Credit: YouTube/Kevin Hanson

Don’t blame the Patriots for missing an extra point early in their NFL playoff game against the Denver Broncos, then missing a two-point conversion in the waning seconds to lose. To many in Patriot Nation, Surfacegate is to blame.

Yes, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, which Microsoft supplied to NFL teams for use on the sideline during this season. The Surface Pro 3, which failed just as the Patriots needed it—on a defensive series early in the game. Which they clearly could not recover from. And wait, isn’t Microsoft in Seahawk country! 12th man! 12th man!

Well, Microsoft would just like you to know that no, the Surface tablets did not fail. They did not. In fact, “Microsoft Surfaces have not experienced a single failure in the two years they’ve been used on NFL sidelines,” Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows and devices, said in a blog post. In a bold font. 

Why this matters: What? What? You’re kidding me. Are you really asking me that question? You want to know why it matters? Stand there and look me in the eye and tell me why it matters. Yes, you. You know why it matters? Because it’s football and God created football and you love God and America and Tom Brady, the Holy Trinity of New England, and that’s all the god#^&% answer you need. 

Microsoft’s excuse

The NFL, which may or may not know what it’s talking about, blamed it all on network issues, not the Surface tablets.

“Near the end of the 1st quarter, we experienced an infrastructure issue on the Patriots sideline that impacted still photos for the coaching tablets,” the NFL said. “The issue was identified as a network cable malfunction and was resolved during the 2nd quarter. The issue was not caused by the tablets or the software that runs on the tablets. We have experienced no issues with the tablets this season. Any issues were network related.​”

Network issues, hmm? So why are these Patriots officials clearly staring at Surface tablets with their screens off in the image at the top of this article? (Sure, it might be the camera angle, but it might not.)

Microsoft also wants you to know that “Surface tablets have become ubiquitous on NFL sidelines and in the coaches’ booth." Furthermore, Microsoft says very clearly and specifically, "more than half of NFL franchises are also using Surfaces end-to-end, as playbooks, to watch video and as a laptop replacement in their front office to handle the administrative duties of running the team.” 


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