Patriots president: There 'wasn't one person who said' to hire Bill Belichick in 2000

The hiring of Bill Belichick seems pretty obvious in hindsight. He’s won so many Super Bowl rings he has to rename his boat every other year.

But in 2000 it wasn’t entirely obvious to many people. Patriots president Jonathan Kraft recalled on Tuesday night’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (will air at 10 p.m. ET on HBO) that there “wasn’t one person” who thought the Pats should hire Belichick.

But his dad, Robert Kraft, who also took aim at critics during the segment, was dead set on doing it. 

“There wasn’t one person who said to do it. I learned a long, long, long time ago, when my dad says his gut says something is the right decision -- he’s always right,” Jonathan Kraft said. “He’s never wrong. And so in 2000 he’s like, ‘We’re getting Bill Belichick. Period.’ And no one agreed.”

Prior to Super Bowl LI, the elder Kraft recalled former Browns owner Art Modell, who fired Belichick from his first head coaching job in Cleveland, telling him not to hire Belichick as a coach

So there’s some history here in terms of people questioning Belichick going to New England. Things were hairy when the actual hire happened, too -- Belichick was supposed to coach the Jets as Bill Parcells’ successor, but then he bounced out of New York and took the Patriots job.

Hiring Belichick turned out to be a pretty good decision for the Patriots. And jumping to the Pats turned out to be a good move for Belichick.

The team and the coach found Tom Brady in the sixth round, which while perhaps lucky, also provides a great story about Brady’s response walking into the team’s facilities early in his career.

“I always remember him coming down the stairs at the old stadium,” Robert Kraft recalled. “He said to me, ‘Hi, I’m Tom Brady.’ And he looked me in the eye and he said, ‘And I’m the best decision this organization has ever made.’”

It’s an almost unbelievable story except Jonathan Kraft claims to have talked with his father immediately after, and wondering what Brady was thinking.

“I said, ‘God, really?’ I’m like, ‘Was he cocky?’ And my father said to me, ‘I’m telling you. There’s something about the way he said it that I believe him,’” Jonathan Kraft said. 

Brady wasn’t wrong, and neither was Robert Kraft.

They say you need to be talented to succeed, and that’s true. But sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. And the great ones are those that combine smart instincts with skill and a hefty dollop of luck. 

The Patriots have a pretty perfect blend of all it. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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