For the majority of the millennium, Robert Kraft's team dominated the NFL landscape, winning playoff game after playoff game. Six Super Bowls and a host of other postseason victories became the norm.
But the New England Patriots haven't lived up to those lofty standards for the past three seasons, and it's grating on the owner. Kraft said Tuesday from the NFL's Annual League Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, that he hopes the success of last year's offseason helps the Pats get back to their winning ways.
"First, more than anything, it bothers me that we haven't been able to win a playoff game in the last three years," Kraft said via Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal. "I'm happy that I think we had a great draft last year, and it made up for what happened the previous four years or so."
Welcome to the life of every other NFL team, Mr. Kraft.
Winning as consistently as the Patriots did during the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era is an anomaly, not the norm in the NFL.
Even the best teams usually go through lulls like the Pats are currently experiencing. But for Kraft, it's an uneasy feeling not to have success in January. Before the past three years -- two wild-card losses and missing the postseason -- the Pats had been part of at least the Divisional Round every year since 2009 and hadn't missed the playoffs since 2008 (the year Brady was hurt).
Kraft noted he believes the Pats can get back to winning "as soon as this year."
The Patriots splurged last offseason, shelling out a ton of cash, then buffered that with a draft that saw New England snag quarterback Mac Jones, defensive tackle Christian Barmore, running back Rhamondre Stevenson and other role players.
The good draft comes after the Pats swung and missed plenty, particularly at the end of Brady's run with the club, when Belichick and his staff couldn't find consistent playmakers to buffer their veteran-laden squad.
Kraft knows his club needs another positive draft to get back to winning in the postseason.
"I look forward to hopefully having a great draft this year," he said. "That's the only way you can build your team for long term and consistently, that you have a chance of winning -- is having a good draft."