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“I love him like a son.” 

That’s what Robert Kraft said about Tom Brady after the legendary quarterback informed him that he would be leaving the New England Patriots in March 2020. 

Just three years later, though, it’s obvious that one of the NFL’s influential owners doesn’t hold the greatest player of all time on the same level as his biological son and team president, Jonathan Kraft. In fact, based on Robert Kraft’s actions (or lack thereof), it’s increasingly clear that his decision to go all-in on Bill Belichick has been costly on multiple levels. 

After suffering the embarrassment of seeing their biggest star immediately lead another franchise to a Super Bowl title and continue to sustain success, the Krafts suddenly look even worse thanks to a bizarre business move by Brady that brings up a valid question: 

Who’s running the show in Foxborough?

Tom Brady will soon call Robert Kraft one of his peers

Not long ago, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Tom Brady would retire as a member of the Patriots and serve in some sort of advisory role with the franchise. 

Boy, were we wrong. 

Rather than returning to New England to be by Robert Kraft’s side, the seven-time Super Bowl champion has his sights set on achieving a feat he couldn’t accomplish during his decorated career: hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as an owner. Only nobody could have predicted that the team Brady decided to invest in would be the one that was essentially responsible for igniting the legend of TB12. 

On Monday, May 22, Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez that he had “come to an agreement” with Brady to join the organization’s ownership group, pending NFL approval. 

If the move goes through, the recently retired quarterback will join George Halas and Jerry Richardson in becoming the only players in league history to become owners. 

According to ESPN, at least 24 current NFL team owners have to approve Brady’s partnership. The fact Kraft has some stake in his fate certainly stands out, especially given the history between the two franchises. After all, the Patriots wouldn’t have won their first Super Bowl title without the infamous “Tuck Rule” call in the AFC divisional round that still remains a controversial topic amongst Raiders fans today. 

So, while the Raiders were already a key part of Brady’s legacy, his decision to join forces with Davis–someone who hasn’t experienced anything close to Kraft’s success–definitely raised some eyebrows. Then again, given the presence of Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler, and many former Patriots players in Las Vegas, perhaps TB12’s latest business venture shouldn’t have been a huge surprise.

How much worse can things get for a Patriots franchise in the post-TB12 era?

It’s tough to see better days ahead in New England. 

In fact, things could go from bad to worse for Kraft. And as much as he may not want to admit it, he deserves a lion’s share of the blame for the state of the franchise. 

As a savvy businessman who didn’t become a billionaire by accident, Kraft knows the importance of accountability. Yet after 20 years of preaching about maintaining high standards and aiming for perfection, the Patriots have become a sloppy football team that makes mistakes on and off the field. Ultimately, that falls on Bill Belichick–the man Kraft chose to stick by instead of Brady. 

Meanwhile, Patriots fans have paid hard-earned money to watch a washed-up Cam Newton struggle to complete basic passes. Oh, they’ve also spent some of their earnings to see  Matt Patricia attempt to call offensive plays for an entire season. 

Along the way, fans have also witnessed Belichick swing and miss on first-round picks like Sony Michel, N’Keal Harry, and Isaiah Wynn, overspend on middling free agents like Nelson Agholor and Jonnu Smith, and fail to replenish the coaching pipeline with qualified candidates. 

The outlook for 2023 looks bleak, especially with Aaron Rodgers joining a division that already included two star signal-callers in Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa. Even if their defense finishes as a top-10 unit, the Patriots may still finish fourth in the AFC East simply due to how talented the other three teams are. 

Of course, Kraft could have put a stop to this at any point. But he gave Belichick the benefit of the doubt just like he gave Brady the ability to walk after the 2019 season. And by failing to bring the beloved Boston icon back in a front-office role (or even as the team’s starting quarterback), Kraft gave the rest of his peers the chance to make a sales pitch to Brady. 

Clearly, whatever Mark Davis said worked. 

Whether the GOAT can work his magic on a Raiders franchise led by two of Bill Belichick’s proteges remains to be seen. But if there’s anything we learned about Tom Brady as a player, it’s never to doubt him. 

And if he gets the required number of votes, we’ll get a chance to find out if the GOAT’s greatness will carry over to the ownership level, too. 

As for the Patriots? 

Their head coach may have lost touch with the modern game. 

Their incumbent starting quarterback may be auditioning for his job this summer. 
And their owner may be more interested in seeing his highest-paid employee break the NFL’s all-time wins record for his franchise instead of doing what’s necessary to make New England great again.


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