back to article Surface: Tested to withstand the NFL. Microsoft firmware updates? Not so much

Microsoft's Surface tablet got an unexpected workout during the recent NFL playoff between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs when a frustrated coach flung the fondleslab onto the field. The way he flung it will be familiar to owners still battling machines borked by flaky firmware. Microsoft has spanked …

  1. rg287

    Are you saying the NFL don't use... Playbooks?

    I'll let myself out.

    1. EscapedTheInsanity


      Now there's a ghost from the past - Vodaphone had a ton of them ready to throw (excuse the pun) at one of my previous employers, who in a rare moment of reasoned consideration told them to keep them.

      Makes my blood turn cold even thinking about them and what would have happened {shudder}....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You deserve a million down votes for this, so have an up vote.

  2. Lloyd

    It's a bit like rugby?

    To elaborate further, it's essentially rugby league with body armour and slightly tweaked rules but with larger gaps during the plays/tackles.

    1. Eddy Ito

      Re: It's a bit like rugby?

      ... but with larger gaps during the plays/tackles.

      I don't remember where I saw it but there was a study, if you can call it that, which determined that the average NFL game contained roughly 12 minutes of action even though it is officially 1 hour long and takes over 3 hours to play. Of course that means that folks willing to splash over $8k on super bowl tickets are paying nearly $700 per minute of action not counting the time and money spent on ancillaries like plane tickets, hotel rooms, and stadium priced beer.

      1. AGITA018

        Average NFL play time

        This link?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Average NFL play time

            No shit. I played soccer for 10 years and I'm pretty certain that all great soccer players just happen to be the ones that truly enjoy it. As for the other 99% of the players, well, it's tolerable and it beats a cubicle.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Average NFL play time

            unless you're the type of person who enjoys watching grown men rolling on the floor crying.

    2. Mike 16

      Re: It's a bit like rugby?

      I recall reading American Football described (in the 1970's IIRC) as a perfect combination of the two most characteristic aspects of American culture: Violence and Committee Meetings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's a bit like rugby?

        I'm a huge NFL fan and have been known to describe it as a combination of all-in wrestling and chess.

        Show me a better spectacle in the world of sport than Montana to Rice, or Mahomes to Hill, and then maybe let's have a conversation about whether the time the ball spends moving is the key indicator; I've seen lots of (Association) football where the ball was in constant motion and there was precisely zero excitement on offer.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's a bit like rugby?

          Not a sports fan, but enjoyed watching sumo wrestling when it was on TV a few years ago

          20 stone blokes with names like Sea cucumber and Cryshnimim (some bloody flower I can't spell) trying to throw out of the ring, while there was also a load of ritual and history behind it all

      2. Velv

        Re: It's a bit like rugby?

        We're familiar with the concept of contact sports and non-contact sports. American football is a collision sport.

  3. 33rpm

    Belichick 2 Surface 0

    This is the second time he has spiked one for freezing up.

  4. vtcodger Silver badge


    I'm a bit confused. I'm 98% certain that Patriot's coach Bill Belichik quit using his league provided Microsoft Surface a couple of years ago and went back to older technology. His ostensive reason -- " their [sic, but probably a typo by news sources as Belichick was "speaking" at the time] just isn’t enough consistency in the performance of the tablets." And indeed, sideline shots during Patriots games sometimes show the coach with a clipboard(?) and pencil(?). See

  5. fishman

    Official Sponsor

    Microsoft paid the NFL $400M to be the official supplier with their Surface devices. In return, the NFL teams have to use them in the games.

  6. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Bill Belichick is a jerk

    I saw that during the game. I remember my high school football coach throwing a similar tantrum with an clipboard. Busted it all to pieces. This clown behaves the same way. Sure, they love in him New England, but he is pretty much hated across the board in the rest of the US. So childish.

  7. doublelayer Silver badge

    Surface firmware problems

    I was asked to help fix a surface pro 3 that had developed a firmware problem, in that it would not recognize the correct charge for its battery, so would not hold a charge at all despite having a relatively new battery. This had been fixed in a firmware patch that would not install because "The battery level must be above 40% and the device must be connected to power to install this update". I tried a lot of things to circle around this error, but no luck. In addition, the charging cable, which uses the same strategy as Apple's magsafe connectors so that it can come out easily if disturbed, meant that ordinary activities could pull it out and force a long recovery process. So the people who asked me to fix their surface now have a particularly weird desktop, with its magnetic power plug taped into the socket, the cable taped to the back, and the device taped to the table. The least portable device built with extreme portability as the defining goal.

  8. Stephen McLaughlin

    Reminds me of when Microsoft was heavily promoting Surface Pros.

    They were were introduced to the pre-and-post game TV studio NFL analyst shows and very visible to the home audience. However, the analysts were still using iPads. So they hid them behind the Surface Pro monitors perched on the stands. Of course they were busted.

    And the classic line: Well at least you can’t say Microsoft doesn’t support Apple.

  9. Kristian Walsh

    "Padded with dollars"?

    Okay, I'm not much of an NFL fan but from an English publication, that is somewhat... rich. While many dollars are showered on the sport, the wages for players are strictly controlled (the NFL operates like a Soviet-style centrally-planned economy), and fall short of what you'd expect - especially when you look down the team roster.

    But, starting at the top: the highest-paid player in the NFL is Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins at $22 million a year. Meanwhile, the highest-paid player in the English Premier League is Manchester United striker Alexis Sanchez at £25 million. Pounds. Or $32 million in greenbacks.

    However, the gap widens dramatically once you get away from the big names. One thing about NFL teams is that because there's a controlled salary budget, the stars tend to get huge money, while the utility players are paid a tiny fraction of that: the median salary of a quarterback is about $15 million, but of an NFL full-back it's only $620,000 (okay "only", but the point is that there's a 25x difference). By contrast, no English Premier League player is paid less than £700,000 (about $1 million) a year, and that's at a team where the top-earning player is paid maybe £3 million a year.

    Also, the yearly draft, limited squad sizes and the lack of other places to play makes the position of an NFL player a lot more precarious. While there's always the lower leagues for a player dropped from an EPL team (and Championship teams can and do pay in the million-pounds-per-year range), the dropped NFL player has very few professional options open to him.

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