When caught with a tough question in a news conference, Bill Belichick typically relies on the trusty explanation that he’s doing what’s best for the New England Patriots.

There’s no coach in sports who knows what’s best for his team better than Belichick, and to do his job properly, he must be given free reign on the football side of the organization. The Patriots have been so successful over the last 17 seasons in part because Patriots owner Robert Kraft trusts Belichick to do what’s best for his team.

“Robert and his family have been very supportive of me, gave up a lot to get me here and have been supportive for the years that I’ve been here,” Belichick said Monday. “Our facilities are good. Robert gives me the latitude to do what I think is best for the football team and I appreciate that. I appreciate the opportunity to do the things that I feel are best, make the decisions that I feel are best for the team. There’s not a lot of interference, so I think that smooths it out on the football end. We have a lot of good people working for us in the organization. We seem to through the years have been able to be productive together.”

Productive is an understatement.

The Patriots are 201-71 in the regular season and 23-9 in the playoffs since Belichick took over as head coach in 2000. The Patriots are four-time Super Bowl champions and six-time AFC champions during that stretch. They’ve been to the AFC Championship Game 11 times, including a current run of six straight. They’ve won 14 AFC East championships, including a current streak of eight straight.

The Patriots’ stretch of dominance is unmatched in the NFL salary-cap era. And while Kraft doesn’t interfere with Belichick’s business, the Patriots head coach has little interest in intruding on other matters. Belichick regularly has no comment when asked about issues that don’t relate to football, like the Tom Brady banner that hung over Gillette Stadium between the time the quarterback was suspended and when the 2016 season began.

Thumbnail photo via Thomas J. Russo/USA TODAY Sports Images