BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota – Robert Kraft’s face crinkled, his chin rose and he rocked back defiantly when asked about “dysfunction” in the Patriots organization during a recent interview with veteran journalist Andrea Kremer.

“No, no,” Kraft said dismissively. “There’s no dysfunction. There’s tension. And I think a certain amount of tension helps make great things happen.”


The reply was a telling one. Near the end of the season, I wrote a story about the whiff of uncertainty wafting through the organization and the various tensions that were on simmer.

A week later, ESPN released a piece raising the stakes. It stated Robert Kraft forced the Jimmy Garoppolo trade and intimated an implosion was imminent.

There’s no avoiding the fact that the “amount of tension” has been a lot higher this year than in recent seasons. It’s not been business as usual and everyone enjoying sheetcake in the break room.

And there’s no telling whether the Patriots are on the brink of a sixth Super Bowl win because of tension or in spite of it.


But the very word dysfunction insinuates something isn’t working because it’s screwed up. And that’s not the case. Obviously.

Jonathan Kraft took issue with the word as well, saying, “Dysfunction is when people take energy and use it to think about how to undermine other people. That does not happen. If it happens in this organization, I haven’t seen it.”


Kremer also pointed out to Jonathan Kraft that there may come a time when it will falls to him to usher Brady into retirement. 

He said that’s not happening.  

“I think Tom Brady’s earned the right to make that decision when he wants to make it,” said Jonathan. 

Robert Kraft did leave one minor cliffhanger at the end. Asked by Kremer whether Belichick and Brady would both be back for the 2018 season, he answered, “I appreciate you asking that question but I’m not going to respond to it. You’ll just have to see for yourself.”