FOXBORO — New England Patriots team owner and CEO Robert Kraft was all smiles following his team’s 17-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Not only did the Pats Week 2 victory even their record at 1-1 it also demonstrated their potential on both sides of the ball, helping to infuse some optimism surrounding the team’s prospects in 2022.
Still, for Kraft, Sunday’s triumph had a more sentimental meaning.
Whether the outcome resulted in a win, loss or draw, New England’s showdown with the Steelers marked Kraft’s 500th game as owner of the Patriots. The victory gave the Pats’ CEO his 342nd overall victory at New England’s helm.
It was therefore only fitting for him to receive a special honor from the team, especially after the contest ended with a Patriots win. After the game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick presented Kraft with a game ball to commemorate the moment.
Since purchasing the Patriots in 1994, Kraft (who celebrated his 81st birthday earlier this year on June 5) has overseen the most successful run of any NFL franchise during that time span. Under his ownership, the Pats have made the playoffs 21 times in his 27 years as owner. They have won 19 AFC East titles, including a stretch of 11 straight from 2009 to 2019. They represented the AFC in the Super Bowl in 1996 (lost), 2001 (won), 2003 (won), 2004 (won), 2007 (lost), 2011 (lost), 2014 (won), 2016 (won), 2017 (lost) and 2018 (won).
After having never won more than 11 games in a season prior to Kraft's arrival, the Patriots have won at least 12 games 14 times, including finishing the 2007 regular season undefeated. For much of Kraft’s prolific run in the Patriots’ owners box, the team has been under the direction of Belichick as head coach and led on the field by quarterback Tom Brady. However, his leadership, financial management and steady hand at the helm has made Kraft one of the most respected owners in the NFL, as well as all professional sports.
The Patriots will attempt to collect Kraft’s 343rd victory as owner when they host the Baltimore Ravens in their Week 3 matchup on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium.
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