New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft sounds like a man that knows he's lucky to have been behind a two-decade run that's seen Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady essentially steamroll the rest of the league.
In the Brady-Belichick Era, the Patriots have captured five Super Bowl championships, have posted 15 straight years with at least 10 wins, and have been to the AFC Championship Game (at the very least) in seven straight seasons.
It's not hard to see why Kraft, whose team is coming off their second straight Super Bowl appearance, wants to keep this group together for as long as he can. And why the rumors of their falling apart are best kept outside the walls of Gillette Stadium.
"Continuity in life is very simple for me: I try to stay with high-quality people. And then if you got something pretty good going, have continuity," Kraft said in an on-field interview with ESPN (and with former Patriot Tedy Bruschi sitting to his right). "The fact that Bill and Tommy are together for 19 years… you know what it’s like in the locker locker rooms with egos…
“The job of ownership is to keep continuity when you have something good. I think some people just make change for change’s sake, and I have a rule: We never break something down unless we can put something better in its place. And the Belichick-Brady combo has been pretty good. and I think as an organization, I think going back to what you said of putting distractions aside — whether it’s the media or just normal events — everybody checks their ego at the door and puts team first.”
Perhaps no year will test that ego-checking theory more than this upcoming season. Especially as the Patriots look to bounce back from both a heart-wrenching Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and an offseason loaded with rumors of Brady and Belichick being fed up with one another, to the point where both parties altered their offseason regiments (be it Brady skipping OTAs or Belichick's offseason plans to incorporate more 'fun' into what the Patriots do as a team).
(You can watch ESPN's complete interview with Kraft below.)