BOSTON (CBS) — Patriots owner Robert Kraft has made his permanent mark on football in New England, and he’ll forever be remembered as a central figure in local football history. Now, he’s a nominee to gain such recognition on a much larger scale.
Kraft is among 127 nominees up for enshrinement to the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2013. The Hall of Fame made the announcement on Thursday afternoon.
The list of 127 players, coaches and contributors will be narrowed down by the selection committee to 25 semifinalists, announced in late November. That list will then be cut to 15 finalists, and the final vote will take place in February, the day before the Super Bowl.
Generally, between four and seven members are elected each year.
Kraft is listed among 24 contributors, including Bud Adams Jr., Art Modell, Jack Kent Cooke, Bill Polian, Art Rooney Sr., Steve Sabol and Paul Tagliabue, among others.
Kraft purchased the Patriots in 1994 for $75 million. The team is now valued at $1.64 billion, the second-highest value in the NFL and the sixth-highest valued franchise in all of sports, according to Forbes. The Patriots have won three Super Bowls and made it to three more Super Bowls under Kraft’s ownership. Every single game since 1994 has been sold out, as well, with Kraft eventually replacing the outdated Foxboro Stadium with the state-of-the-art Gillette Stadium in 2002.
The list of first-year eligible nominees as players includes quarterback Steve McNair, running back Priest Holmes, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, defensive end Michael Strahan, kicker Morten Anderen and safety John Lynch.