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Kraft: Still Love Welker And Carroll, But ‘Hard To Root For Anybody’

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BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is in New York for Sunday’s Super Bowl, but he’s still disappointed it won’t be his team competing for the Lombardi Trophy.

“You’re still heartsick,” Kraft told CBS This Morning on Friday.

Instead, Kraft will have to watch as the Broncos and Seattle Seahawks battle for NFL supremacy. He wouldn’t say who he would be rooting for when the game kicks off on Sunday, only that he has a couple former friends on both teams.

“I have people on both sides. I love Wes Welker, and I’ve hired two coaches in my career; Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. I get torn, but to be honest, it’s hard to root for anybody when you’re in my position,” said Kraft.

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Carroll took over as New England’s head coach when Bill Parcells bolted for the Jets in 1997, and led the team to a 27-21 regular season record and two playoff appearances in his three seasons at the helm. Carroll was dismissed after an 8-8 season in 1999, but Kraft still has high praise for the first head coach he ever hired.

“He’s such a  great guy,” said Kraft. “He’s one of the nicest men and he’s such a different profile than other coaches. He’s like an energetic and enthusiastic young man on the sidelines. He has a great family and is a very special person.”

But Kraft wasn’t about to forget about Welker, who made big catches and took even bigger hits for six seasons in New England.

“Wes Welker is also a pretty special guy,” he said.

Kraft said he is happy the Super Bowl will be played in New York, something he has lobbied for since the September 11th attacks in 2001.

“Just to send a signal to the world how important this New York/New Jersey region is,” he said.

Kraft also has a place in his heart for football games played in less than ideal weather conditions.

“Our most memorable games have been played in the elements. I actually wish there was some light snow because I think people would remember it,” said Kraft. “The greatest game ever played in Foxboro was the “Snow Bowl” with the Tuck Rule and Adam Vinatieri making a great kick. Fans still talk about that game.”

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Kraft was also asked about the possibility of the NFL expanding to London. There have been seven NFL games played at Wembley Stadium as part of the NFL International Series, and all but one of them have attracted a crowd of over 80,000. Three more games are on the schedule for 2014, and Kraft wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL has a London franchise sometime in the very near future.

“I think with London, we have three games there (next season). We’ve played there a couple times. I think that’s a great place, and I really believe before the decade is out we’ll have a team there,” said Kraft.

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