Robert Kraft's Influence Reportedly Led Falcons to Skip Belichick for Coach

NFL insider reveals new twist in coaching controversy.

by Faizan Chaudhary
Robert Kraft's Influence Reportedly Led Falcons to Skip Belichick for Coach
© Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The professional rift between Bill Belichick and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft continues to reverberate through the NFL, potentially impacting Belichick's recent career prospects. Reports now suggest that this strained relationship may have influenced the Atlanta Falcons' decision to overlook Belichick for their head coaching position.

Earlier this year, after his departure from the Patriots, Belichick was in discussions with the Falcons, meeting with team executives twice. With his formidable track record, Belichick appeared to be a strong contender for the role.

The search was extensive, involving interviews with 14 NFL coaches. However, Falcons owner Arthur Blank ultimately chose Raheem Morris, former defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, over Belichick. This outcome was unexpected for Belichick, who found himself without a coaching position for the first time in decades.

An ESPN report shed light on the situation, revealing Blank's surprising decision left Belichick significantly taken aback. A source involved in the Falcons' hiring process told ESPN, "He was essentially voted off the island." Despite the initial shock, insiders close to the situation were less surprised.

Multiple sources indicated to ESPN that conversations between Blank and Kraft, which did not portray Belichick favorably, influenced the decision. One source claimed, "Robert called Arthur to warn him not to trust Bill." Another source added that Kraft cautioned Blank about the difficulty of having a warm relationship with Belichick.

Kraft Defends Belichick

However, these claims are contested by representatives of the Patriots. Patriots spokesman Stacey James strongly refuted the allegations that Kraft disparaged Belichick in his discussions with Blank.

"Robert steadfastly denies saying anything negative to Arthur Blank about Bill Belichick after Robert and Bill mutually agreed to part ways," James stated to ESPN. He further clarified that Kraft actually supported Belichick's candidacy for the Falcons' job.

In a statement in February, Blank praised Belichick, calling him "the greatest coach who ever coached the game." He emphasized that during their discussions, Belichick did not request control over personnel decisions or other administrative aspects of the team.

The narrative around Belichick's career transition underscores the complex dynamics of relationships within the NFL and their potential to impact key organizational decisions. As the dust settles, the focus remains on how these developments will shape the future paths of Belichick, Kraft, and the involved NFL teams.