Robert Kraft may be sending Bill Belichick a message

Robert Kraft has never seemed like the sort of owner who would stick his beak into the Patriots’ football operation.

Well, he did that one time, when he strongly suggested that Jimmy Garoppolo be banished from Tom Brady’s empire. With hindsight’s wisdom, he should have done a bit more prodding before Brady decided to take himself south.

That was then, which brings us to now, and it is fairly plain that Kraft is reminding everyone – presumably, everyone includes Bill Belichick – that he misses the glory days.

“I’m a Patriot fan, big time,” Kraft said. “More than anything, it bothers me that we haven’t been able to win a playoff game in the last three years.”

As grumbles go, that is downright gentlemanly. It doesn’t land anywhere near the same universe that might be haunted by a truly meddling owner. Could anyone detect so much as a twinge of a vintage George Steinbrenner-like ultimatum?

Kraft simply pointed out that the last Patriots playoff win was in Super Bowl LIII. That would be III years ago. And there aren’t any big-time Patriots fans who would accuse Kraft of excessive impatience.

Kraft’s frustration, expressed during a press briefing this week at the NFL meetings in sunny St. Petersburg, Fla., must be considered as at least a gentle elbow to the ribs of The Greatest Coach of All Time.

Belichick’s boss – even a GOAT has someone he must answer to – reaffirmed that he has nothing but appreciation for everything his football master has accomplished in the past 20 years. In addition to toting six Lombardi Trophies back to Foxborough, he dug the foundation for a new stadium and inspired a waiting list for season tickets sales.

In short, for those too young to understand the bad old days, Belichick turned a tottering NFL franchise into the league’s flagship.

Brady’s Patriots career ended in a hideous playoff loss against the Titans. His final Patriots pass was intercepted by an old teammate, Logan Ryan.

Brady went to Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl.

His old team has been conspicuously absent from the post-season spotlight.

Kraft was enthusiastic in his praise of second-year QB Mac Jones. He sounded confident that Jones, with Belichick and his staff in charge of his development, is about to make his own mark on the NFL.

“Without a good coach and a good quarterback, no matter how good the other players are, I don’t think you can win consistently. Hopefully, I believe we have both an outstanding coach and a good young prospect at quarterback,” Kraft said.

Time to find new glory, coach.

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