The New England Patriots experienced technical issues on their play tablets that kept them out of use for 20 minutes in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The Patriots regained use of the tablets in the second quarter but not before the Broncos drove down the field to score and extend their lead to 14-6.
From the opposing sideline, the Broncos' tablets worked, and they weren’t required to shut them down.
It’d be easy to point to the tablet problem as a reason for New England's season-ending loss. However, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said tablet issues have been prevalent all season among all teams and that Sunday’s occurrence didn’t affect the 20-18 outcome in the Broncos’ favor, per Kevin Dillon of MassLive.com:
It is what it is. It's a pretty common problem. We have ways of working through it. There's really nothing you can do. It's not like the headsets where the other sides are really affected. You deal with what you deal with.
We have had it at home, we have had it on the road, other teams have had it, it's a fairly common problem that didn't affect the outcome of the game — in no way. That's just part of it. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.
During the tablets’ hiatus, the Patriots used printout pictures that were standard for years before technological advancements.
Microsoft elaborated on the connection issues at Mile High.
“Our team on the field has confirmed the issue was not related to the tablets themselves but rather an issue with the network. We worked with our partners who manage the network to ensure the issue was resolved quickly," a Microsoft spokesperson said during the game, per Jo Ling Kent of Fox Business.
With the way teams have become dependent upon technology, it's safe to say those responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly will be especially vigilant heading into Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7.