Patriots owner Kraft stands front-and-center in NFL spotlight

Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:53am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is one of the most visible faces of the NFL, guiding his once-moribund team to unparalleled success while assuming an influential role navigating the league's complex inner workings.

The affable 73-year-old Kraft is in Arizona this week, preparing for the Patriots' seventh Super Bowl appearance since the Massachusetts native purchased the club in 1994.

"After my family, my team is my passion," Kraft, a one-time Patriots season ticket holder, told reporters this week. "I love being around the guys. There isn't one guy in our locker room I wouldn't be pleased to have at our dinner table.

"I can relate to all of them."

Kraft made billions in the paper industry after graduating from Columbia University and the Harvard Business School. He's now CEO of the Kraft Group, a diversified group of privately held companies. But his heart lies between the goalposts.

In the 20 years since he bought the team, the Patriots have made the playoffs an eyebrow-raising 15 times and are shooting for their fourth NFL championship.

"The greatest decisions I have ever made in my life were all instinct and what felt right," he said. "This is a people business too and developing trust and respect is very important.

"It doesn't matter what team you are with, there are going to be a lot of things you didn't plan on. And how you react and work together really is the key."   Continued...

January 26, 2015; Chandler, AZ, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft addresses the media during a press conference after their arrival in preparation for Super Bowl XLIX at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Hotel. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports