HOUSTON – Robert Kraft is enjoying his eighth trip to the Super Bowl as owner of the Patriots, which is a remarkable feat in and of itself. Seven of those have come under the direction of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, which represents the most successful coach-quarterback tandem in NFL history.
The patriarch of the organization is obviously quite proud of those accomplishments, and if he gets his way he'll get the opportunity to have many more chances with that duo intact. Earlier in the week, Kraft mentioned that Belichick had indicated that 2016 would not be his final year and on Thursday he was asked how long he expected to remain at the helm.
"As long as he'd like to," Kraft answered. "I'm very happy with him. We've been together for 17 years and I like it when I hear him say that he's getting paid to do what he loves. So we'll try to keep it like that and keep him around.
It's amazing watching him and I know how early he gets up and I'm thinking he starts so early in the morning and he's out there at practice and he's doing this. He has unique energy and drive and I haven't seen him fade at all … sort of like No. 12. I just pinch myself how lucky we are to be in this system.
"At least as long as the good lord keeps me breathing I hope they're playing and coaching."
Kraft discussed the incredible run of success the Patriots have enjoyed during his 23-year run as owner. Not surprisingly, Belichick and Brady were at the forefront of his mind.
"To be in a position to hopefully win our fifth would just be off the charts," he began. "I never would have dreamt we'd have this continuity and stability and we're just lucky to have the confluence of situations where we wind up with the greatest coach in the history of the game and the greatest quarterback in the history of the game and keeping them together and keeping a great team around them is pretty special."
At that point, the owner made a reference to the negativity that periodically has surrounded his team during the past two years of the Deflategate scandal and had a message.
"The most important thing in my life is my family and my philanthropy and after that it's helping the Patriots in any small way I can to win football games," Kraft added. "I hope we can win this, I think it will be a great statement to people who are pursuing their dreams that sometimes you get treated unfairly and things don't go your way and you just hang in there and keep persevering and sometimes good things happen. But it doesn't mean anything if we don't win on Sunday."