Robert Kraft: A Documentary That Lets Bats Down; Vow scanning fixes

ORLANDO, Fla. – Robert Kraft said he was “disappointed” with the portrayal of the New England Patriots' championship teams in a recent documentary series and announced plans to upgrade the organization's facilities in the wake of poor reviews in this year's NFL Players Association poll.

Kraft spoke to reporters for 15 minutes Tuesday at the league's annual meeting, and among the topics he was asked about was “The Dynasty,” a 10-part documentary series directed by Matthew Hamacek on Apple TV+. The Patriots turned over their entire internal video archive for the documentary, which was released in February, with Kraft and prominent members of the organization agreeing to give lengthy and sometimes revealing interviews.

“I felt bad because there had been so much focus on the more controversial, and let's say 'difficult' positions over the last 20 years,” Kraft said.

“I wish they would have focused more on our Super Bowl wins, on our 21-game winning streak. I felt bad because there were players who had done hours and hours of interviews and just felt negative. [was used]. … So I'm a little disappointed that there wasn't a real positive approach — especially for the Patriots fans who lived the experience with us.”

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Former Patriots players Devin McCourty and Rodney Harrison, who were interviewed for the documentary, were among the critics. McCourty, who said “I felt like I was kind of cheated,” believes the documentary was biased against former coach Bill Belichick.

On Tuesday, Kraft was asked to comment on those who felt Belichick was unfairly maligned in the documentary.

“Look, I'll state this clearly: I feel honored to have Bill here. And hopefully when he's finished [coaching], that we will have a chance to honor him the way we will do with Tom Brady this year. “I look forward to the honor of placing Bill in the Patriots Hall of Fame one day in the future,” Kraft said.

Meanwhile, in the latest NFL Players Association poll, the Patriots ranked 29th out of 32 teams. Their weight room ranked last in the NFL, and they were noted for being one of seven teams that does not offer daycare support for players' children on game day.

Kraft highlighted the changes coming in those areas under first-year coach Jerrod Mayo and director of scouting Elliot Wolf, who has ultimate personnel authority.

“I have to tell you, I didn't know how bad it was,” Kraft said. “We had a plan, and we executed it, where we committed to a brand-new facility adjacent to our facility that had been discussed with the Young Leadership Team – a building that would cost more than $50 million and that would have more [modern] amenities.

“We have to correct anything [unfavorable]. I wasn't even aware of this daycare thing. This is something that can be fixed and we want to do it. Look, the players are the heart and soul of the business. “I would be very surprised if it doesn't get better.”

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Kraft expressed optimism about the Patriots' direction under Mayo Wolff, believing improvements have been made by retaining some of the team's free agents, such as offensive lineman Mike Onwenu, who signed a three-year, $57 million contract earlier in March.

At the same time, he admitted how the team missed out on signing free agent receiver Calvin Ridley, who signed a four-year, $92 million contract with the Tennessee Titans.

“Basically, if you want to win consistently, you have to draft well and then get those players on the second contract. We started doing that this year,” Kraft said.

“We went after the guys we wanted in free agency [from other teams]. There was an outstanding receiver [Ridley] Unfortunately we couldn't close it. This was not due to funding. He explained to him [wife] He wanted to be in the South. And we had a situation where taxes were about 10% higher; We offered that, or were willing to continue at that price, but he didn't want to be in the Northeast. And part of it might be the quarterback situation as well.”

Along those lines, Kraft said the fan in him hopes the Patriots select a quarterback with the third overall pick in the draft, but he said he'll go back to Mayo, Wolf & Co. The team currently includes veteran Jacoby Brissett, Bailey's 2022 fourth-round pick. Zabi and second-year player Nathan Rourke are on the depth chart.

“At the end of the day, you can't win in this league consistently unless you have a top-tier quarterback and a top-tier coach,” Kraft said. “On the other hand, there are a lot of people who are desperate to move up, so we will be open to whatever can come our way. One way or another, I would like to see us get to the highest level, young midfielder.”

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