BOSTON (CBS) — To say that not many folks in the world of business viewed the New England Patriots franchise as a desirable asset in the early ’90s would be to make a massive, massive understatement. Yet Robert Kraft had a grand vision for his hometown team, and it began to come to fruition on this date 27 years ago.Rally Calls For Asian Studies To Be Added To School Curriculum In Massachusetts
The Patriots shared a video — featuring some vintage WBZ coverage, anchored by Jack Williams and Kasey Kaufman — on Thursday, a day which marked 27 years to the date that Kraft was introduced as the new owner of the team. After artfully purchasing Foxboro Stadium and the land around it, Kraft had purchased the team for $173 million, which at the time was considered an obscene amount. Forbes’ most recent valuation of the Patriots has them valued at $4.4 billion, second-highest in the NFL, behind only the Dallas Cowboys.
“The gentleman I’m about to introduce stepped up at a critical time,” previous owner James Orthewein said at the introductory press conference. “He understands what a football team means to this community. After league approval, he’ll become the next owner of the New England Patriots. Robert Kraft.”
“The commitments I made was that I believe that if we do the right things and manage it right, we get the support from the fans and the corporate community, that whis will be an asset for the whole community and our family long-term,” Kraft said in an interview at the time, with his wife, Myra, by his side. “But we have five years of hard work ahead of us, and I hope this community views it as a partnership. And I think it can be great. And I hope we can bring a championship here.”
That simple, straightforward goal obviously was reached six times, with the Patriots reaching the Super Bowl four more times during Kraft’s tenure as team owner.
Kraft’s management has coincided with the most successful team run in pro football. In the five years prior to Kraft’s purchase of the team, the Patriots went 19-61, hitting 1-15 in 1990 and going 2-14 in 1992. But the team went 10-6 in Kraft’s first year running the team, and they were in the Super Bowl — the second appearance in franchise history — two years later.
Prior to Kraft’s purchase of the team, the Patriots had made the playoffs just six times in their first 34 seasons of existence, going 4-6 in those playoff contests. In the 27 seasons since, the Patriots have made the playoffs 21 times, going 331-149 in the regular season and 33-15 in the postseason.MORE NEWS: Water Conservation Urged In Massachusetts Amid Dry Spell
“I realized that this was a unique opportunity that I had,” Kraft said after noting that a piece of him “died” when the Braves left Boston in 1953. “And it really required me to stretch, beyond where I ever dreamt I would have to, to try to secure this asset. But it allowed me to fulfill a dream, and in a way, I hope serve part of the best interest of the community.”