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Robert Kraft and the New England Patriots dominated the NFL for more than 20 years, winning six Super Bowls and dozens of playoff victories.
But the Patriots have found themselves in a bit of a dry spell the past three years, which for any normal club wouldn’t raise too many alarms.
However, for the Patriots owner, who is so used to success, three years without winning a game in the postseason is far too long.
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“I’m a Patriot fan, big time, first. More than anything, it bothers me that we haven’t been able to win a playoff game in the last three years,” Kraft said on Tuesday at the NFL annual meeting in Palm Beach, Florida.
“I think we had a period of two decades that were unbelievable,” Kraft added. “After my family, there’s nothing more important to me than the New England Patriots and winning football games. That’s my passion, so whatever I can do, hopefully in a small way to make that happen, I’m there. I’m not happy that we haven’t won a playoff game in three years. So I think about that a lot.”
Prior to the past three years, the Patriots had made it to at least the Divisional Round in every postseason since 2010. The team lost in the wild card round in 2019 and 2021 and failed to make the postseason at all in 2020.
The last postseason win for the Patriots was a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII — with quarterback Tom Brady at the helm.
However, Kraft was optimistic, saying he expected the Patriots to again be contenders as “soon as this year.”
“I think we’ve made the commitments as an organization. I think we have a lot of talent, some wonderful young men from last year and a couple in the weeds from before. It’s a chance for them to grow and hopefully come together, and the team comes together,” he said.
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The Patriots spent tons of cash last offseason and the team selected quarterback Mac Jones (15th overall), defensive tackle Christian Barmore and running back Rhamondre Stevenson in the draft. Jones helped the Patriots to a 10-7 record and wild-card berth last season, but the team was blown out in the playoffs by the Buffalo Bills.
Kraft said he was happy about last year’s draft, and he expressed optimism about his team’s future, especially considering the Patriots still have arguably the greatest coach in NFL history, Bill Belichick.
Kraft also talked about the importance of having a great draft this year, which he knows is necessary for the team to return to the postseason.
“I’m happy that I think we had a great draft last year, and made up for what happened the previous four years or so,” Kraft said. “I look forward to hopefully having a great draft this year. That’s the only way you can build your team for long term and consistently, that you have a chance of winning, is having a good draft.”
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“So we have a chance. 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,” he added.