Kraft on Belichick: Best ever

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots owner Robert Kraft shared his thoughts on coach Bill Belichick during a Friday morning news conference.

"I think he’ll go down as the greatest coach in the history of the NFL, because he’s really competing in the era of the salary cap," Kraft said. "When I bought the team, it was the beginning of the salary cap, and I think a lot of great coaches had difficulty understanding how to balance the economics of the game and the budgets. His product knowledge is so great.

"I really like this team a lot this year, and I think he’s done a great job assembling people. We have a very good locker room. We had the privilege of being the No. 1 seed back to back and I personally can feel a big difference in the locker room this year [compared to] last year.”

Kraft pointed to the team's resilience as a key to the 2011 season.

“What really makes a difference in this game is mental toughness, and when teams get down, how do they react? Just think of that game [against Buffalo in the season finale] we were down 21-0. We’ve been down a number of times this year. I think we’re privileged to have him as a head coach. I think he has done an outstanding job."

Kraft then capped off his remarks with a humorous line.

"I know how forthright he is when you ask him questions, so full disclosure to the media has always been important and helpful to him in doing his job," he cracked.

Kraft was then asked a follow-up on planning for life after Belichick, whenever that may come.

“Anyone who is a good manager, in any business, tries to plan for the future and contingencies. I just went through an experience this past year that I’m trying to enjoy every day as it goes, and appreciate the blessings we have. We’re in the AFC Championship Game competing to go to the Super Bowl, and I’m excited about that," he said.