New England Patriots: When will Robert Kraft get the call to Canton?

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Team owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Team owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Robert Kraft bought the New England Patriots in 1994. Since then, the team has appeared in 8 Super Bowls, with 5 rings to show for it.

NFL Network‘s Peter Schrager recently made the case for why New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Good Morning Football. I very strongly agree.

Since purchasing the Patriots in 1994, Robert Kraft has turned the team around and made them contenders to win a Super Bowl every year. Yes, having Bill Belichick and Tom Brady has helped, but I think Kraft could have found some success without them as well. He did help to get a team to the Super Bowl in the 90’s afterall.

Winning is not the only reason Kraft belongs in the Hall of Fame though. Robert has created a winning culture in New England, while also contributing to the NFL game as a whole. He rejected deals that would have seen the Patriots move to St. Louis, and for that New England fans will forever be grateful.

New England Patriots
23 Sep 2001: A general view of Foxboro Stadium during a pregame ceremony honoring those fallen in the World Trade Center tragedy prior to the game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Jets won 10-3. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw/ALLSPORT /

Kraft actually bought Foxboro Stadium before he purchased the team. Then-owners Billy Sullivan and Victor Kiam wanted to move the Patriots to Jacksonville, but Kraft used the lease in place through 2001 to keep football in Foxboro. Later, a buyout was offered so that the team could move to St. Louis, but Kraft rejected it. Finally, in 1994 he purchased the New England Patriots.

Just three seasons later, the Patriots appeared in Super Bowl XXXI. Though they lost to the Green Bay Packers, a winning culture was beginning to be laid in New England. Now, with five rings, Robert Kraft is tied with 49ers’ Hall-of-Fame owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. with the most by a single owner. In the 33 years prior to Kraft’s time as the owner, the Patriots only made the playoffs six times, while hosting just one playoff game. Now, the Patriots seem to have a home playoff game every season.

New England Patriots
FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 10: Fireworks go off as the New England Patriots reveal their Super Bowl XLIX championship banner before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on September 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

Kraft also heped to build up the area around his new Gillette Stadium. While the stadium is the focal point, Kraft created Patriot Place surrounding it, filled with shops, restaurants, hotels, a bowling alley, a movie theater, and more. Now, people visit Foxboro even during the NFL offseason.

Robert Kraft has also worked tirelessly as an owner on deals that benefit the league. He helped to negotiate the television contracts, and helped to end the NFL’s longest lockout. Kraft endured and helped end that lockout as his late wife Myra was slowly pasing away. Through it all, Kraft was able to help secure a 10-year CBA between the players and the league.

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This Saturday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be enshrined in Canton. Robert Kraft should not be far behind. There are more than 300 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but very few were NFL owners. Jones is joining 13 others with this title. One day soon the number should grow to 15 with Robert Kraft.

Next: The Patriots path to Super Bowl LII

So, do you think Robert Kraft belongs in the Hall of Fame? Or has he riden the success of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady? I believe it takes a strong owner to win in the NFL, and Robert Kraft has made contributions both in New England and for the NFL as a whole. He desreves a bust.