The Patriots parted ways with Bill Belichick this offseason, but a bombshell report released Wednesday revealed that decision might have been a year in the making.

ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler co-authored an extensive column that revealed the multiple factors that led to Belichick not getting hired this offseason.

Robert Kraft played a key role in swaying Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank despite the former Patriots head coach’s insistence on the job he wanted, according to ESPN. The New England owner’s reported comments shed more light on the fractured relationship between Belichick and Kraft. A separation was close to happening last offseason, but another key member of ownership stepped in.

“A source close to Robert Kraft said he considered moving on from Belichick after the 2022 season, but Jonathan Kraft talked him out of it,” ESPN reported.

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The Patriots finished 8-9 in the 2022 season, and Robert Kraft made a vow to fans after the team missed its second postseason in three seasons. However, the sides toughed it out for another season, which resulted in the franchise’s worst campaign in nearly two decades.

Jonathan Kraft reportedly voiced his frustrations about the season, and he was open in “The Dynasty” about his role on the team, specifically when it came to releasing Aaron Hernandez. Despite convincing his father to not fire Belichick, that attitude quickly changed throughout the 2023 season resulting in reported tensions between him and the former New England head coach.

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It’s unclear how much regret there was from the Krafts to keep Belichick for one more season, but they now move on to the Jerod Mayo era hoping for improved changes.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports