Pats’ power trio figures to be in place for a long time
|03.22.10 at 11:31 am ET|
The news that Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he wants Bill Belichick and Tom Brady around as long as possible is hardly stop-the-presses kind of stuff, but it does signal that the team will continue to keep its current management model in place for the foreseeable future.
When he was asked how long he could see Belichick serving as head coach of the Patriots, Kraft told reporters at the NFL Meetings on Monday morning “there’s not another head coach” he would want more than Belichick.
“We have an understanding,” Kraft told reporters Monday morning at the owners meetings in Orlando. “He’s here, he’s coaching. He loves what he does. There’s not another head coach I would prefer to have over him. It’s working. It’s like a marriage, you know? And there’s an ebb and flow, and it’s not always straight-lined, but I think we’ve got something pretty good here and we want to keep it going.”
As for Brady, Kraft expressed some mild distaste for the fact that the quarterback wasn’t in Foxboro for the start of the offseason program last week. But it sounds like the team will do whatever it takes to retain the quarterback, who is entering the final year of his contract.
“Let’s put it like this: Tom Brady is going to be part of this franchise. He wants to be, we want him,” Kraft said. “You know, great things in life happen if you’re flexible and not rigid. We have to find a way to satisfy him and the team and have a team that can win — big time. That’s what it’s about. We’re bound to a lot of different factors in an unknown environment. So, we’re not sleeping. It’s just complicated. And it’s complicated for everyone. So we hope we do a satisfactory job. We’ll figure it out, one way or another.”
The working relationship among the three is maybe one of the most unique in all of professional sports. It’s not just on-field success that continues to distinguish them from their peers. Kraft, Belichick and Brady — along with general manager Scott Pioli, until he departed for Kansas City last offseason — have managed to strike a delicate balance that continues to elude most other professional franchises. All three clearly know what they have to do to make New England a success, and even without Pioli in the picture, the three most important members of the Patriots franchise continues to enjoy a convivial working relationship.
But maybe more importantly, they know enough to play to their respective strengths and not overstep their bounds. The phrase “Do your job” is the central, fundamental tenet to the overall success of the Patriots, and that holds true for everyone, especially in the relationship between the players, front office and ownership: All three are wise enough to realize they can handle their own business.
It sounds simple, but it’s a balance that can elude even the most talented NFL teams. The slightest misstep — an owner making personnel decisions, a coach complaining about ownership or a star making excessive contract demands — can doom even the most talented team.
In the end, the Monday morning quotes from Kraft remind me of a conversation I had with veteran NFL personnel man Charley Armey about the secret to the Patriots’ success. Armey said that in the end, Kraft’s ability to trust “his football guys” — namely, Belichick and Brady — has been one of the biggest reasons for New England’s success.
“He’s relied and depended on their judgment about players and player moves and roster adjustments and so on and so forth, and it’s paid off for them,” Armey said. “Because Robert Kraft has had the confidence in the fact that they know what they’re doing, and he allows them to do it.
“They’ve done a very good job of knowing their needs and knowing who fits and who doesn’t fit,” he added. “And Robert Kraft has been remarkable in that he’s allowed them to do that. He understands how to get a franchise going and how to get it off the ground. And they’ve done it successfully.”
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