Josh McDaniels uses a traditional play sheet to confer with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in the first half. (Chris Carlson/Associated Press)

In an interesting turn of events, the Microsoft Surface tablet the New England Patriots use to look at plays on the sideline suddenly were malfunctioning, CBS reported during the AFC championship game.

The issue of sideline communications has been a hot one, with the Pittsburgh Steelers complaining that their headsets go out when they play in New England. That, however, is the responsibility of the NFL, not the home team. As for the wireless tablets, NFL rules do not require that they be turned off on both sidelines if there are problems for one team.

One solution for the problem was to hard-wire the tablets, but, by midway through the second quarter, CBS was reporting that the Patriots’ devices were working. So much for conspiracies.