NFL insider says people who think Robert Kraft would never fire Bill Belichick are ‘wrong’


“Kraft likes to remind people he grew up as a Patriots fan during the organization’s darkest days. But that doesn’t mean he has patience to endure more of them.”

Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick. AP Photo/Adrian Kraus
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Robert Kraft doesn’t subscribe to the notion that Bill Belichick’s six Super Bowl wins are enough for him to keep his job as long as he chooses, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic.

And with the Patriots’ record sitting at 1-4 after a pair of blowout losses, Kraft’s patience with Belichick could be wearing thin.

The headline of Howe’s piece reads: “If you think Patriots owner Robert Kraft wouldn’t fire Bill Belichick, you’re wrong.”

“Kraft likes to remind people he grew up as a Patriots fan during the organization’s darkest days,” Howe wrote. “But that doesn’t mean he has patience to endure more of them. On multiple occasions in recent years, he has lamented the team’s lack of a postseason victory in the post-Brady era. Kraft has grown frustrated, if not downright angry, over this shortage of success, according to people close to the situation.”

Howe called Sunday’s game against Las Vegas a “gut check” for Kraft. Belichick will go head-to-head with his former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is Las Vegas’s head coach. And heralded former quarterback Tom Brady is a member of the Raiders ownership group, not the Patriots.

After being outscored 72-3 over the past two weeks, the Patriots must find a way to turn things around expeditiously.

If not, Belichick may not be around to break Don Shula’s all-time coaching wins record in New England, Howe writes.

“Belichick is sitting at 330 career victories. For a while, Belichick had been on track to surpass Shula’s 347 wins in 2024, which would sync up with his 50th season in the NFL,” Howe wrote. “But if the Patriots don’t start beating comparable opponents, let alone the perceived superior foes, that 348th victory may not be within reach in 2024. And if this chase continues at the current pace, how much energy would the fan base realistically expend to celebrate No. 348 — whenever it may come?”

Howe pointed to Belichick’s issues with drafting and retaining talent, his treatment of Mac Jones, and increased frustration among defensive players at the offense’s lack of production as major problems for Belichick.

The two worst losses of Belichick’s career came in back-to-back weeks. Howe noted that Kraft spent a quarter-billion dollars on renovations at Gillette Stadium, including the largest outdoor curved video screen at a sporting venue in the country.

The score that the video board displayed last Sunday was 34-0 in favor of the Saints. Things need to get better in a hurry, but there isn’t much to suggest that they will, Howe said.

“Based on their lack of execution in the first five games, there’s little evidence to suggest a marked turnaround is imminent,” Howe wrote. “And Kraft has long since gotten sick of watching other teams’ highlights on his new scoreboard.”