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The use of the Surface in the NFL was designed to replace printed paper black and white images of plays. (GeekWire file)
The use of the Surface in the NFL was designed to replace printed paper black and white images of plays. (GeekWire file)

A day after the NFL made it clear that Microsoft’s Surface tablets were not to blame for a technical hiccup during Sunday’s AFC Championship game, Microsoft itself was reiterating the point that the devices did not fail.

Yusuf Mehdi
Yusuf Mehdi

Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, said in a blog post on Tuesday, that, like many of us, he was watching the game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots when it was reported that the Surface Pro 3 failed on the Patriots bench.

“In the past two years, Surfaces have supported nearly 100,000 minutes of sideline action, and in that time, not a single issue has been reported that is related to the tablet itself,” Mehdi wrote. “On rare occasions like we saw on Sunday, the stadium has network issues that prevent the delivery of images to the Surface devices. In these cases, we work with the NFL to quickly troubleshoot possible network issues so we can get the photo imaging solution to proceed as normal.”

Microsoft did issue a statement during the game on Sunday saying that the problem was not related to the tablets themselves and that the network issue was resolved quickly. But the damage had already been done as 53.3 million viewers of the CBS broadcast heard “Microsoft Surface” called out numerous times.

Microsoft signed a 5-year, $400 million deal to bring the Surface to the NFL in 2013 in the hopes of helping players and coaches more efficiently analyze action on the field.

Mehdi goes on to say in his post that usage of the tablets in the league continues to grow and teams are more effective as a result of their use of Surface. He even references video clips of the devices being abused by two NFL quarterbacks.

“The now infamous clips of Johnny Manziel and Aaron Rogers abusing their Surface devices are further evidence of two things,” Mehdi said. “1) players are getting information faster, even if they don’t always like what they see and 2) these devices were built to endure just about anything, even Johnny Manziel’s head.”

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