Microsoft established a $400 million partnership with the NFL in 2014, supplying teams with Surface tablets to help "improve the productivity of coaches and players on the sidelines."
Now, almost 2,000 Surface devices are deployed at 34 stadiums, according to Microsoft blog post.
But not everyone is a fan of the NFL Surface program. Microsoft's recent blog post to boast of the program is likely a response to one of the biggest names in football coaching denouncing the technology. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick recently said he is "done" with the Surface tablets.
The partnership with the NFL is just one way Microsoft is working to get its devices into the enterprise. Microsoft is one of the few older technology companies that has successfully navigated vast changes in the technology landscape to remain a leading company. Major partnerships with big names will help prove that its devices are competitive and useful in an enterprise setting.
The tablets were meant to help make game analysis "more efficient, productive and competitive — enabling quicker decision making by coaches and players," the company said. Before that, coaches and players conducted game analysis with black and white print outs of plays. But many are frustrated with performance and reliability.
"They’re just too undependable for me," Belichick said. "I’m going to stick with pictures, which several of our other coaches do, as well, because there just isn’t enough consistency in the performance of the tablets. I just can’t take it anymore."
The negative comments could put the partnership, which is set to expire in 2018, in jeopardy, resulting in the NFL looking for sideline technology elsewhere.