NFL Rumors: Tensions Mounting at Top of New England Patriots Organization

Winning cures everything in the NFL, but even the most accomplished coach in the sport's history may not be beyond reproach in its absence. In a new story on Pro Football Talk, Mike Florio detailed mounting tensions between Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick after a third straight disappointing season.

Florio cites several instances of ornery back-and-forth between the two Patriots power brokers. At his final press conference of the 2022 season, Belichick tried to attribute the Patriots' struggles since 2020 to low spending. Feeling defensive at the owner's meetings in March, Kraft was hesitant to throw his full support behind Belichick.

No coach in NFL history has a resume to match Belichick; his six Super Bowl wins and nine conference championships are both far and away the most of all time. That being said, his years without future Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady have been a slog: without the GOAT quarterback as his starter, Belichick's teams have compiled a 79-88 regular season record and only one postseason win.

With the Patriots potentially looking up from the basement of the AFC East at the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, and Miami Dolphins, there's a chance that record gets worse before it gets better. Another losing season could also mark a fifth consecutive season without a postseason win, the franchise's longest streak since Kraft acquired the team way back in 1994.

It's unlikely the relationship between Kraft and Belichick gets publicly acrimonious enough that Belichick is outright fired. Still, a gentle nudging towards retirement for the NFL's second-oldest head coach may not be out of the question. 

That could be easier said than done if Belichick has any interest in fixing the glaring hole in his resume that is a decade's worth of irrelevance without Brady. If Belichick insists on finally establishing a contender (let alone a champion) without his star quarterback, retirement may be the furthest thing from his mind, which would put Kraft in an awkward spot if the losing continues. 

As strange as it may seem, there's a real chance Belichick could one day find himself looking for a new team. It wouldn't be unheard of. His mentor Bill Parcells coached four different franchises. Don Shula, the Hall of Fame coach whose total win record Belichick is chasing, coached two. Maybe a fresh start could benefit all parties.

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