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Watching the New England Patriots struggle throughout the 2020 NFL season and miss the playoffs was a frustrating experience for fans throughout the region, and it sounds like the team's owner felt the same way.
The Patriots finished with a 7-9 record that resulted in the franchise's 11-year postseason appearance streak coming to a halt. It was the Pats' worst record since 2000 when they went 5-11 in former quarterback Tom Brady's rookie campaign.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft took questions from the media Wednesday for the first time since the offseason began. Kraft was asked about his general impression of watching his team go 7-9 last year, and he gave an honest response.
"When you say how did I feel -- well, I'm not going to use the word, but it was horrible," Kraft admitted. "After my family, the Patriots are the most important thing in my life. I think of what we can do to impact the community, but also the privilege I have of owning this team in my hometown -- like I said when I bought the team, our family is a custodian of a public asset.
"The bottom line here is winning. That's what this business is. When we don't, it's not a good feeling."
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The Patriots have been hard at work in free agency trying to ensure last season's failures are not repeated in 2021.
The team spent an incredible amount of money to sign several of the top free agents on the market to address some of the weakest positions on the roster. Two of the most notable signings were multi-year deals to Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith -- the top two free agent tight ends.
“If there was ever a year to (spend a lot of money), this would be the year because we moved quickly and instead of having 10-12 teams compete against us there were only 2-3,” Kraft said on the call.
He added: “I really hope it makes a difference. I’m excited about this upcoming season.”
The Patriots should be better in 2021 than they were in 2020. Not only have they upgraded at key positions in free agency and should do so again in next month's NFL Draft, they will likely have a more normal offseason compared to last year when the COVID-19 pandemic changed so much of the sports landscape.
Will these changes be enough to vault the Patriots back among the AFC's top contenders?
"I expect to be a contender every year," Kraft said."