New England Patriots Press Conference
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Now that the dynasty is over, Robert Kraft and several New England Patriots are finally letting out some of their true feelings about Bill Belichick and some of the things that transpired during the franchise's glory years. 

Kraft, the team's longtime owner, perhaps provided the harshest criticism of Belichick during the final two episodes of AppleTV's "The Dynasty" documentary. Among Kraft's criticisms of Belichick was his handling of Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII. For reasons never fully explained, Belichick inexplicably benched his starting cornerback and former Super Bowl hero for the entirety of New England's 41-33 loss to the Eagles

"[Tom Brady] threw over 500 yards, but Bill made a tremendous error," Kraft said. "I credited Bill with that loss. To be honest, my head coach is a pain in the tush. But I was willing to put up with it as long as we won."

Belichick never explained his decision to Kraft or any of his players. Kraft feels that Belichick's decision went beyond football. 

"What has been told to me is that there was something personal going on between Bill and Malcolm that was not football related," Kraft said. "I always felt that every decision Bill had made had been to put what was in the best interest of the team first and put emotion aside. But with Malcolm, he did just the opposite."

The irony here is that, earlier in the documentary, Kraft lauded Belichick for his ability to always put the needs of the team first, especially at the start of the team's historic run. Belichick, for example, chose to start Tom Brady over Drew Bledsoe (who at the time was the NFL's highest-paid player) for the remainder of the 2001 season after Bledsoe suffered an injury in Week 2. Belichick later chose team over self again that season when he gave up his coach's suite to one of his players (defensive back Lawyer Milloy) during the week of that year's Super Bowl, which New England won in what was a historic upset. 

It's clear that things had drastically changed between 2001 and 2017. Belichick's decision to bench Butler upset seemingly everyone within the organization, especially his players. 

"That shit still kind of pisses me off to this day," said former wideout Danny Amendola. "We played our asses off. ... We're out there, literally putting our bodies, our heads, on the line ... and to not get an explanation, I feel like we got cheated a little bit, honestly, and I don't feel bad saying that." 

Adding insult to injury was the fact that the Patriots' secondary was clearly outmatched in that game without Butler, who was told just before kickoff that he was being benched. With Butler watching from the sideline, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown and was named the game's MVP. 

"Seeing how the game was transpiring, it's like, we kind of need him in there right now," recalled special teams star Matthew Slater. "Can we get him in there to stop the bleeding? 

"As players, we all feel strongly that Malcolm should have been out there, but that's not our call. And, at the end of the day, we trust our coach." 

Butler, who recently announced his retirement from the NFL, also doesn't know why he was benched. 

"I don't have one bit of information of that to this day," he said in the doc. "I really don't know. I really don't. To leave me watching my team suffer when I know I can help them. 

"I didn't feel like I was being treated right. I didn't find out until the game that I wasn't going to play."

Frustration boiled over after the loss. Rob Gronkowski, the future Hall of Fame tight end, admitted in the documentary that he thought he was finished with football after the game. He later took subtle shots at Belichick on social media, like when he told Amendola to "be free" after Amendola announced he was leaving the team. 

"It was kind of a shot at Coach Belichick a little bit," Gronkowski acknowledged. "It just didn't feel like you could be who you wanted to be that whole entire year with the Patriots. ... It's just so unf-----g necessary."

Belichick also received criticism for his letter for support for future president Donald Trump that was read by Trump during a rally the night before the 2016 election. Politics aside, players felt that 

"I personally thought it was very hypocritical," Slater said. "The Patriot Way, it starts with respecting the men you work alongside with and trying to put the team first. That's the foundation for this place. I just don't think he was connected enough with his players at the time to realize that that was going to have an impact on the locker room." 

It was clear to Kraft at this time that the Patriots' run was coming to an end. Specifically, Belicihck and Brady were nearing the end of their time together. Things had gotten so bad that the two barely spoke to each other during their final Super Bowl run together in 2018. 

"Tommy is the greatest in the 100-year history of the game," Kraft said, "and I think he represented a threat to Bill's full power. He didn't want Tommy there." 

Belichick ultimately got his wish, as Brady jettisoned New England after the 2019 season. Brady won a seventh Super Bowl with the Buccaneers before retiring after the 2022 season. Belichick, meanwhile, did not win a playoff game during his four seasons in New England without Brady. He and the team mutually parted ways this past offseason following a 4-13 season. 

It should be noted that Kraft, Belichick and Brady spoke glowingly of one another at various points during the documentary. But, as the final two episodes of the documentary showed, their tremendous success together came at a considerable cost and left wounds that may never fully heal, for those three and for other contributors to the dynasty.