Robert Kraft should be thanking Bill Belichick, not talking behind his back

It shouldn’t matter what Bill Belichick’s interpersonal skills are (or aren't). It shouldn’t matter that his New England team once got upset by Philadelphia in the Super Bowl. It shouldn’t matter how much the Patriots spiraled post Tom Brady.

New England team owner Robert Kraft should spend the rest of his days expounding Belichick’s greatness.

Kraft should prioritize his coach of 24 years, and everyone else who helped lead the Patriots to two decades of Super Bowls and glory above all else.

That’s his team. That’s his crew. Those are his people. Or they should be. They didn’t just make Kraft billions of dollars, they made him famous, something he clearly seeks and basks in.

Anyone with a proper sense of perspective, loyalty and character would forget the hassles and highlight the successes. They’d do anything for their guy.

Instead, the Kraft-Belichick partnership — once air-tight and thick-as-thieves — looks to be in smoldering ruins. It once served as the bedrock that weathered waves of rivals and storms of controversy to — along with Tom Brady and other players, of course — rule the NFL like no franchise before or since.

Now, it’s a soap opera.

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft talk after defeating the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The latest comes via a deeply reported story that, citing multiple sources, alleges that Kraft torpedoed Belichick’s candidacy to become head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in January. It claims that Kraft twice called Falcons owner Arthur Blank to “warn [Blank] not to trust Bill.” The Falcons went on to hire Raheem Morris.

Kraft denies that and via a spokesman says he actually “advocated for Bill to get the job."

ESPN also reported that Kraft spoke privately with Washington principal owner Josh Harris, who didn’t even bother to interview Belichick for the open Commanders job before hiring Dan Quinn.

Belichick is not owed a head coaching job. From his age (72) to his controlling ways to his post-Brady record, there are plenty of reasons to go in a different direction. That said, how does a guy with 302 regular-season victories, 17 division titles and all those rings find just one team, Atlanta, willing to even interview him?

Wouldn’t a franchise glean something from hearing Belichick’s opinions of building an organization? In the ESPN report, for example, Belichick wondered why the Falcons didn’t offer bonuses for players to train at the facility in the offseason, an important team-building exercise.

Yet, other than Blank, no one wanted even small insights like that? Kind of weird.

If anything Kraft should have been out there trying to drum up support for Belichick. He should have been his hype man. Instead it seems like his loyalty was to his fellow billionaires, not the coach who did so much for him and his organization.

This follows the release of a 10-part AppleTV+ docuseries dubbed “The Dynasty” that repeatedly — like episode after episode — painted Belichick in an objectively negative light. How the most accomplished coach of all-time could come out looking anything less than good in a series about the most prolonged run of success in league history is almost impossible to imagine.

It happened though.

The docuseries is copyrighted to “Kraft Dynasty LLC” and viewers quickly noted how often Kraft was portrayed admirably. Kraft has denied any editorial control and himself criticized the series for focusing too much on scandals rather than Super Bowls.

Yet there was one segment where Kraft was expressing his view on the dynamics between Belichick and Brady, as well as Kraft’s disappointment over an upset loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

"Tommy is the greatest in the 100-year history of the game,” Kraft said. “And I think he represented a threat to Bill’s full power. He didn’t want Tommy there. And so, when you come to the decision, Brady or Belichick, I thought back to the Eagles Super Bowl. Tommy threw over 500 yards, but Bill made a tremendous error [in the defensive scheme and not playing cornerback Malcolm Butler]. I credited Bill with that loss.

“To be honest, my head coach is a pain in the tush, but I was willing to put up with it as long as we won.”

Look, you can hate Bill Belichick all you want. You can think he should never coach again. You can think Brady is what made him great (a ludicrously one-sided opinion, but whatever). None of that matters.

You can’t blame Belichick if he thinks Kraft is out to get him.

It’s barely been three months since the breakup and Kraft has taken public shots at Belichick on Apple and now, per ESPN, private ones to other team owners to discourage his hiring.

Also, there were two "Eagles Super Bowls" for the Patriots. They won the first one — XXXIX — in part because the defense delivered three interceptions and four sacks. The docuseries spent barely any time on that one.

A source that ESPN said was close to Kraft told the website that, "[Kraft] found Bill to be extremely difficult and obstinate and kind of stubborn and, in the end, not worthy of his trust. And also very, very, very arrogant."

All potentially true. And so what? Belichick may have been a problem employee but he sure was a valuable one. No matter how great Brady was, the coach who designed the game plans, drafted the players and ran the staff played a role in winning too.

Without those Super Bowls, the Patriots don’t go from a $174 million purchase in 1994 to an estimated $6.7 billion valuation today. And Kraft doesn’t go from a rich guy who ran a successful packaging company to hanging with Hollywood celebrities.

Kraft has a lot of money and a lot of power. That isn’t everything in life though.

Loyalty matters too. Or should.

Bill Belichick more than earned that from Robert Kraft.