Patriots owner Robert Kraft joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, with his team sitting at 5-1 heading into its bye weekend. Kraft said that while coach Bill Belichick might be quick to move on to the next game, he takes a little more time to enjoy the team's success.
"After my family, there's nothing more important to me than the New England Patriots team. And winning is what we're about, so when we win, I do savor it," he said. "We're not on this planet forever, and we've got to make sure we enjoy the special people around us and the special events that happen in our life and savor them.
"So, it's Bill's job to do that, and his philosophy works pretty well. I'm pretty proud that since we bought this team -- and I remember my sweetheart thought I was nuts. We had the worst won-loss record the previous five years. And now this our 18th season, if you can believe it. I'm pretty proud that we have the best won-loss record in the NFL. We're going to continue to enjoy it. Hopefully, it continues this year."
Kraft said the bye week comes at a good time for the team, coming off Sunday's dramatic win over the Cowboys.
"The bottom line is here we're going into the bye and we're 5-1. It's the eighth time in franchise history, in our 52 years, that we're 5-1. And I think having this extra week off at this time is a good thing. It allows some of our guys that are banged up to get it together. We have four new people eligible to play for the team. I know everyone's excited to see Kevin Faulk come back. I think we're positioned well. But there's acts of God that happen along the way. Our game, because of injuries, you can never truly predict what's going to happen."
Added Kraft: "I think the best part of the last game is we did come from behind and we did what we had to do, which is what we did for many years. And I think a lot of people questioned whether that was still there. I think this last victory, in the form they did it, gave the team a great deal of confidence. It's very important when a team goes out on the field that no matter what happens … that they always believe they can come back. I sensed that that feeling might have been a little ambivalent for a while. But after this last game and going into the bye, I think there's a great deal of confidence. That's encouraging. Now, we'll see what happens."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On Wes Welker, and the possibility of signing him to a contract extension: "He's just a special guy. He's a phenomenon. It's our hope that he will be someone who will be with us for the rest of his career. You know that we're a team that's not about trying to encourage and sign people who want the last dollar. If money's the most important thing, then we'll have trouble getting a deal done.
"And I just want to say this, whether it's Wes Welker, Tom Brady, Logan Mankins or any player: When we decide what our limit is, of what we can afford to pay a player, it's not like whatever we don't pay to that player the Kraft family are putting it in our pockets. It's about trying to build a team and have certain disciplines and know that you need a team of 53 players. Whatever money we don't give to Wes Welker is going to go to other players to build a team. But he is pretty special. … We couldn't ask for a better guy."
On Belichick's future in Foxboro: "We're privileged to have a coach who's pretty good. I'd like to try to help him have as long a shelf life as he can have. Being an NFL head coach is a grueling job for six months of the year. You need someone who understands what's involved. It's hard for the general public. The hours they put in -- I'll speak to him at 11 o'clock at night, and he'll leave me a voicemail at quarter of 6 in the morning, when he's just about at the stadium. It's a different thing.
"Now, having stability in this business, when you've had a certain modicum of success, it's hard to maintain, because there are a lot of forces pulling it apart. I think it's ownership's responsibility to try to do the best they can to solve it. Bill loves coaching, and we love having him here. We're trying to always facilitate to keep his shelf life energetic, fresh and hungry."
On sustaining success: "It's great when you win, but it's good for everyone to exercise a little humility and understand that it really is a team effort and a lot of things coming together. You look at our season when we won 18 games. We thought we had something special and we came so close and there were just forces at work that didn't allow us to win and have that perfect season. Believe me, it was a great shock against all of us. Just a few things changing, a little things changing, the egos and reputations of everyone would have been a lot different. There's acts of God and there's chemistry between people and then just the bounce of the balls. …
"I've learned that you've just got to have a steady force and stay in that middle zone and not get too high or too low. Although, I'll tell you, losing still is a lot worse feeling than winning. We want to do anything we can to put ourselves in the best position to avoid losing."