New England Patriots

Bill Belichick looks on for the New England Patriots prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders at Estadio Azteca on November 19, 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

“Our goal is not to create individual stats.”

Bill Belichick may have built stat-based incentives into Rob Gronkowski’s new contract. But that doesn’t mean he puts a ton of importance on whether Gronk hits those numbers.

The Patriots head coach is always concerned with one stat above all others, and that’s the win-loss column. If that means that Gronkowski isn’t going to gain enough yards or score enough touchdowns to reach the benchmarks that he needs to get the incentives that could make him the second-highest-paid tight end in the NFL … so be it.

Has he been OK with Gronk’s relatively low offensive output because it’s resulted in wins?

“No, I’m just telling you like our goal is not to go out there and create stats for an individual player,” said Belichick when asked by Henry McKenna of Patriots Wire. “We just don’t think that way. We try to go out and win the game, so whatever we need to do to win the game then that’s what our goal is. Our goal is not to create individual stats. That’s just not how we do it.”

Aug 24, 2018; Charlotte, NC: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski talks with quarterback Tom Brady during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. (Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

Aug 24, 2018; Charlotte, NC: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski talks with quarterback Tom Brady during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. (Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

NESN’s Doug Kyed followed up with a question about whether it might complicate matters if stats are built into players’ contracts. Like, say, those of Gronkowski and Tom Brady.

“Yeah, again, our goal is the same as it’s always been,” said Belichick. “I think Tom, and Rob, and everybody else on this team, Devin, and Pat [Chung] and everybody else – they come in here and work hard to try to go out and compete well and win games. You’d have to ask other people that question. I don’t know. Our goal is to win games. Other people have other agendas, but that’s not ours.”

Brady and Gronkowski can’t possibly be happy that they’re already well off the pace they needed to hit their incentives. But there’s no question that ultimately, they care more about winning games (particularly the Super Bowl) than padding their stats for an extra few million.

Unfortunately for them, Belichick is going to have some control over how their stats accumulate. They had to know that was a possibility, anyway.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.