Robert Kraft reportedly warned Falcons owner Arthur Blank not to trust Bill Belichick during a head coaching interview.

One of the biggest surprises of the NFL offseason was Bill Belichick's job loss. He has 333 wins and six Super Bowl rings in nearly 30 seasons of head coaching. And yet, as the 2024 season gets underway with voluntary OTAs across the NFL, Belichick remains unemployed.

One man may have more to do with it than anyone else: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. As ESPN's Dan Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler report, Kraft's conversation with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank was the main reason the Falcons moved Belichick as head coach and went with Raheem Morris instead.

The Falcons were the only ones to really engage with Belichick during the hiring portion of the offseason. Every other team with a head coaching start passed on him without even giving him an interview. But the Falcons seemed serious about Belichick — or at least Blank was. He reportedly conducted two lengthy interviews with Belichick on his megayacht.

But Belichick's candidacy was not popular within the organization. According to ESPN, when Blank asked his top executives to rank all the candidates for the job, Belichick didn't make the top three.

When Blank approached Kraft, one of his closest friends among all NFL owners, for advice on hiring Belichick, Kraft reportedly gave him several reasons to back off and go in a different direction. Via ESPN:

But in a conversation with Blank, Kraft gave a thorough assessment of Belichick's character, according to a source who spoke to two people: a close Kraft friend and a longtime Belichick confidant. The source quoted Belichick as saying, “Robert called Arthur to warn him not to trust Bill.” That account was backed up by a close Croft friend.

Multiple sources said Kraft spoke to Blank about Belichick “with some candor,” though the sources declined to elaborate. A source close to Belichick said Kraft “was a big part” of why the Falcons hired him.

So while Kraft was publicly supportive of Belichick, his private feelings were said to be less sympathetic. A source close to Kraft told ESPN.[Kraft] He found Bill too stiff, stubborn, obstinate, and ultimately unworthy of his trust. And very, very, very arrogant.” A spokesman for Kraft denied to ESPN that the Patriots owner said anything negative about Belichick during his conversations with Blank.

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According to ESPN, Belichick was unaware of what Kraft said in the phone call and thought he had the Falcons job in the bag. He found out, along with the rest of the world, on January 25 that the Falcons had decided to hire Morris instead.

While Belichick has zero chance of working for the Falcons in the future, he doesn't believe he's done coaching and reportedly has a list of three teams he doesn't want to work for: the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. Belichick's visions are lofty, but they're smart choices: Current coaches in those jobs (Mike McCarthy of the Cowboys, Brian Daboll of the Giants and all three teams could be in the market for a new head coach in 2025. Nick Siriani of the Eagles) don't see much success in 2024.

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