On Monday, current former Patriots coach Bill Belichick discussed the possibility of foregoing personnel control in the future. Even though it was a message to owner Robert Kraft, that didn't stop the decision to move forward.
“We thought about it [adjusting Belichick’s role]” Kraft told reporters on Thursday, “but I have experience running different organizations and trying to build a team.” Think about it when you have someone like Bill who is in control of every decision, every coach , who we hire, the organization reports to him about the draft and how much money we're spending. Every decision was his and we always supported him. Then taking some of that power away and giving it to someone else – responsibility is important to me in each of our companies, and if he had the responsibility and then someone else takes it, that's going to cause confusion. And: “It was his choice and it was a bad choice” or “He didn’t play it right”. In my opinion it just wouldn’t work.”
Kraft makes a very good point. With Belichick in charge of everything for so long, it would have been awkward (to say the least) for someone else to take over some of his duties while he continued as head coach.
Kraft also explained that Belichick's power grew over time. And Kraft may regret not making sure there was someone who could adequately counter Belichick's power, which eventually became absolute.
“To be clear, he didn’t have all that power and rights [when he arrived]“said Kraft. “I don’t think it happened until after the third Super Bowl, but it happened slowly and in my opinion he deserved it. And it worked pretty well most of the time. But we all need control and balance in our lives. We need what I say – I call it, we need “Dr” “No” around us, people to protect us from ourselves. And as things evolve and you gain more power, sometimes people are afraid to speak up. I'm talking about all companies. I think it's good to have checks and balances, but once you have it [the power]it’s kind of hard to pull it away and expect to take the responsibility you want.”
Again, as long as it delivered championship caliber teams, it was fine. After Belichick suffered personnel lapses (and he did so over a period of several years), coach Belichick could no longer make up for these oversights. And from Kraft's perspective, it would have been too difficult to turn the clock back to before Belichick was running everything.
It will be interesting to see how much power over the roster Belichick wants to have in his next coaching job. Perhaps his comments Monday were less a message to Kraft and more a message to owners now considering hiring Belichick.