There's been a lot of talk lately about the possibility of the New England Patriots going 19-0 this season. But Robert Kraft isn't buying into it.
"That is ridiculous," the Patriots owner said when asked about the possibility of an undefeated season in an interview with NBC Boston ahead of Thursday's season opener. He said the road to repeat as Super Bowl champions is paved with obstacles.
"Part of the privilege of winning a championship, you pick at the bottom rounds (of the draft) and you get one of the toughest schedules," he said.
Kraft points to weeks 10 and 11, back-to-back games at Denver and in Mexico City versus the Raiders. Both of those games will be played at high altitude.
While he might not expect a perfect season, Kraft is confident the Patriots have a championship caliber team, even with the pre-season injury to wide receiver Julian Edelman.
"It was just so sad," Kraft said of the injury. "It definitely has to impact, but it creates opportunities for others.
He hopes some of the young receivers rise to the occasion, as well as oft-injured tight end Rob Gronkowski.
"We hope that he can stay on the field now that he's eating avocado ice cream," Kraft said, referring to Gronkowski's recent adoption of parts of Tom Brady's diet and workout regimen.
When asked about Brady playing into his late 40's, the Patriots owner said nobody works out harder or cares for himself better than Brady.
"His durability has been unbelievable, so I wouldn't argue against him."
Kraft said any discussion between him and head coach Bill Belichick regarding Brady's future is private. But he did say that he thinks the decision on when Brady should quit will come from Brady.
"When Tommy doesn't believe he can play at the highest level, he'll come to us. When he feels he can't perform at that level, I think he himself will make the decision."
For now, there is no question about Brady's readiness for 2017. He's coming off a momentous comeback from a 28-3 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons and a Super Bowl MVP performance.
"I knew when we tied the game, that it was over then," Kraft said.
One of the reasons Kraft said he cites last year's Super Bowl win as, "unequivocally the sweetest" was winning the championship after Brady served a four-game suspension for his involvement in "Deflategate." The suspension was enforced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who Kraft once called a friend. Kraft now said he has a "professional relationship" with Goodell. He maintains the Patriots and Brady were treated unfairly.
"You put it in a box. You don't forget it, but you try to move on. The sweetest thing is we won the Super Bowl."
That was the Patriots' fifth Super Bowl under Kraft's ownership. But what would he have said to a younger Robert Kraft in 1994 when he originally bought the team?
"I'd say, 'You're nuts to pay that price for one of the worst teams in the NFL,'" he said.
Kraft was a 23-year season ticket holder prior to buying the Patriots for $172 million, the most money that had ever been paid for an NFL franchise.
"What people didn't understand was fan support. It was carried for zero in the balance sheet and it was worth a fortune if they felt they had the right leadership."
Kraft's judgment and investment has proven to be stellar. The Patriots are now worth $3.4 billion, according to Forbes.