A day after their 2022 season ended with a 35-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills to finish 8-9, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft expressed his disappointment in a letter to the team’s season ticket holders on Monday.
“Unfortunately, our season ended sooner than we hoped yesterday afternoon in Buffalo,” Kraft wrote in a statement, via Phil Perry. “While we always want to be playing games with playoff implications in Week 18, our expectation was to perform better throughout the season and to advance through the playoffs. We can assure you that no one in our organization is satisfied with the results from this past season.”
The Patriots owner then hinted that some changes could be on the way after the team had two fewer wins than it did in 2021, when they reached the playoffs, as they hope 2023 ends in a better result.
“In the weeks ahead, we will be making critical evaluations of all elements of our football operation as we strive to improve and return to the playoffs next year,” Kraft wrote.
“When we welcome you back for the 2023 season, we anticipate presenting you with an improved product on the field, as well as many exciting new features and additions to Gillette Stadium. You have helped create a dominant home-field advantage over the past 20 years and we look forward to creating many more memorable moments in the years ahead.
“As always, we are extraordinarily thankful for the support you provide us and the strong foundation our organization has as a result.”
Just got my season ticket email from the Patriots. pic.twitter.com/bdAJ9DJD17
— Joe Murray (@JoeyMurr) January 9, 2023
Earlier Monday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said that he’d be returning for his 24th season with the team and that he’d have his usual end-of-season meeting with Kraft to review the year and see what’s best for the team going forward.
“As we do every year, we’ll evaluate everything and try to make the best decisions that we can to move forward, to be more competitive, to have a stronger team in the future,” Belichick said. “So Robert and I will talk about that, we’ll talk about that as a staff, and certainly individual conversations with many of the players, as we always do. Well, all the players, but there’s some that are obviously more urgent, will be more timely than others, but it will be a comprehensive course of action, as it always is. I don’t see the process being really any different, but we need to have better results. That’s really the bottom line.”
Kraft reportedly showed his discontent over Belichick’s approach to replace longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels over the last offseason as he didn’t name an offensive coordinator but made longtime defensive coach Matt Patricia the offensive play-caller.
In March 2022, Kraft also seemed to show some disappointment about the state of the franchise, telling reporters the that “It bothers me that we haven’t been able to win a playoff game in the last three years.”
Kraft opened up the checkbook in the 2021 offseason when the Patriots spent they spent a record-setting $175 million guaranteed money and over $239 million in potential salaries in free agency.
When Belichick was asked if the team got the “best bang for their buck,” he noted that the team’s spending wasn’t as high over the last three seasons.
“When you look at the National Football League and the salary cap situation, it’s the same for all teams,” Belichick said. “What we try to do is we look at it over a time frame. One year is a polaroid snapshot, but actually there are multiple years involved. At some point, the reconciliation has to come. Our spending in 2020, our spending in 2021 and our spending in 2022, the aggregate of that, was we were 27th in the league in cash spending.
“Couple years we’re low, one year was high, but over a three-year period, we are one of the lowest-spending teams in the league. Had we averaged that out in those three years, you would have had the same numbers. Whether it’s two low and one high, two medium, three mediums, two sort of high and one really low, whatever it is, there’s an average that comes. That’s the three-year average, we’re 27th in the league in cash spending.”