BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft has been named the 2012 George Halas Award winner.
The award, given by the Professional Football Writers of America, is given to the NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.
For Kraft, 2011 was a year filled with adversity. With the NFL in a lockout and his wife Myra battling cancer, Kraft still shuttled back and forth between her hospital bed and the labor negotiations — all with her blessings. She passed away on July 20, and just five days later a grieving Kraft was present outside the NFLPA headquarters in Washington DC as the 10-year CBA agreement was announced.
In a touching moment, Colts center Jeff Saturday embraced Kraft after the announcement, and praised the owner of his team’s biggest rival.
“A special thanks to Myra Kraft, who even in her weakest moment, allowed Mr. Kraft to come and fight this out, and without him this deal does not get done,” Saturday said. “I don’t want to be climactic in any way, but he is a man who helped us save football, and we are so gracious for that. We’re gracious for his family and for the opportunity he presented to get this deal done.”
The Patriots dedicated their 2011 season to Myra’s memory, with the Patriots advancing to Super Bowl XLVI, their sixth appearance in the Super Bowl since Kraft purchased the team in 1994.
Kraft is the 43rd Halas Award winner, but the first NFL owner and first member of the Patriots franchise to receive the honor.
The award is named for George Halas, a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who was associated with the Chicago Bears and NFL from their inception in 1920 until his death in 1983 as an owner, manager, player and promoter.
Halas won 324 games and six NFL titles in 40 seasons as a coach.