BOSTON (CBS) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft joined Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning on Friday, still relishing in his team’s fourth Super Bowl title in franchise history.
The Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX in dramatic fashion Sunday night, with undrafted rookie defensive back Malcolm Butler sealing the win with an interception at the one-yard line with 20 seconds to go.
While he always has the utmost confidence in his team, Kraft admitted that things did not look good for the Patriots late Sunday evening.
“We have great confidence in our coach and our team, but we were not in a great position since it was second down and a yard to go,” he said. “Thank goodness this young man, Malcolm Butler, who was born in Mississippi and went to West Alabama, he came and did something that he will forever be in sports lore in Boston.”
Butler turned some heads in training camp and the preseason, but played sparingly throughout the regular season. But the defensive back was ready to go when Bill Belichick tasked him with replacing the struggling Kyle Arrington on Sunday, breaking up a couple of passes along the way before coming down with the game-saving interception.
“He got beat Wednesday in practice on the same play,” Kraft recalled of Butler. “Bill Belichick came up to him and said ‘Malcolm, when they line up stacked, as soon as you see that ball centered don’t wait to see which way they’re going because you’re going to get picked — you go right for the right and go for the ball.’ He got beat Wednesday and Bill said that to him Thursday, and sure enough with 40 seconds and second down, the play came up. He didn’t let himself get picked and he went right for the ball.
“He’s forever going to be remembered very fondly,” said Kraft.
With their fourth title and six trips to the big game, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will likely go down as the greatest Coach-Quarterback duo in the history of the game. Kraft said that as long as he is around, he doesn’t want to see one without the other on the New England sidelines.
“As long as the good lord lets me breathe, that’s my objective,” said Kraft. “We’ve been able to keep it together for 15 years, and I don’t think there is any other head coach-owner relationship like that. Tommy is just so special the way he takes care of himself, the way he trains and the kind of leader he is.”
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When asked about the deflated football controversy (Rose asked about “deflated balls”), Kraft used the opportunity to make a joke of the situation.
“Tom Brady is healthy and vibrant. I don’t think there is any relevance to that comment,” said Kraft.
When asked again about the situation, Kraft sounded confident the league will find no wrongdoing on the Patriots’ part.
“Whenever you’re privileged to get to this big game there’s always a lot of distractions that come about. The bottom line is we won our championship game 45-7 and we won the Super Bowl 28-24, and the league pretty much had full charge of the footballs,” he said. “They’re looking into it and I’m really comfortable with the people we have in this organization.”
As confident as he is that the deflation situation will be a whole lot of nothing, Kraft is just as confident that his Patriots will be participants in next year’s Super Bowl 50.
“I hope we can be together a year from now,” Kraft told Rose. “No one has gone back-to-back since 2003-04, and we would surely like to [do that].”