Robert Kraft: Bill Belichick ‘knows and I know’ how long he’ll coach
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft revealed this week that he and Bill Belichick have a mutual understanding when it comes to discussing just how long the iconic head coach will continue serving in the same capacity with the organization.
“We have a pact that we don’t talk about that,” Kraft said, via The Washington Post. “He knows and I know. But he won’t be done this year.”
Kraft, 75, and Belichick, 65, have been working together for 17 years. With the Patriots about to play in their seventh Super Bowl Sunday at Houston’s NRG Stadium, Kraft was asked how long he expects Belichick to continue coaching.
“As long as he wants,” Kraft replied.
The partnership between Belichick and Kraft has produced an NFL dynasty unlike any before it and perhaps never to be seen again. Kraft stated there’s no reason to believe Belichick, one of the best, if not the greatest, head coach in NFL history, is ready to retire anytime soon, and the reason is simple.
“He gets paid to do what he loves,” Kraft said. “That’s what he says. It’s true. And I’ll sit in a lot of the meetings if I’m in the building, just in the back of the room. I like to, in every one of our businesses, make sure the energy is always there. And his attention to detail . . .”
Much has been made of the “Patriot Way,” a philosophy proven integral to the team’s long-term success. Belichick should be credited for its development over the years and Kraft deserves praise for allowing his head coach to cultivate such an environment. Although Kraft obviously recognizes how fortunate he has been to have Belichick at his side, although that’s not to say there hasn’t been issues along the way.
“Think about it: Bill and I have been together 17 years. How hard is that? No one, I don’t think, is close to that,” Kraft said. “And when you have success, sometimes that makes it harder to stay together. And then having the unique situation of having Tom Brady at the same time, it’s pretty special.”
As Kraft mentions, there is no reason to believe Belichick is ready to give up coaching. There’s literally nothing else that comes to mind about what he would do to occupy his time once he retires.
At the same time, there’s arguably little Belichick can do to further bolster his unparalleled pedigree. On a personal level, he also became a grandfather last fall and seems to enjoy his time with longtime girlfriend Linda Holliday.
Who knows? Perhaps the enigmatic Belichick will shock the world and walk away from football sooner rather than later. But there’s no reason to count on it just yet.
[Pro Football Talk]