Robert Kraft has done so much for the New England Patriots
organization since buying the franchise in 1994, but his impact on football
extends much farther than just the New England region. And for that, he has
earned his place among the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame nominees.
Kraft, who enjoyed the game since childhood, has become one
of the most well-known and important owners in the NFL during his 18-year
tenure. A lifelong New Englander from Brookline, Mass., Kraft purchased the
Patriots not only as a businessman, but a diehard fan as well.
His dedication and enthusiasm as an owner helped save the
Patriots from relocation to then football-less St. Louis in 1994, and it has
also brought great accolades and prestige to the once suffering franchise.
Seven years into his ownership, the Patriots had already won
the franchise's first Super Bowl title and had a new, state of the art facility
that would quickly become the standard for outdoor football stadiums. Three
years later, New England had a trio of championships and a legacy that would
extend through the record books and transform into legendary status.
Since 2005, the Patriots haven't enjoyed the bliss of a
Super Bowl title, but the reputation and allure of the franchise has only
continued to grow. And Kraft's commitment to improving the game he loves has
Kraft has invested a great deal of time, energy and money
into improving the NFL for the better. Whether it was turning a forsaken
football town into one of the most avid fan bases in America, sacrificing
precious time with his dying wife to help save the 2011 football season or even
staking his claim in support of the locked-out officials, Kraft has been vital
to the development of the NFL.
While other "contributors," as the NFL referred to
them in the official Hall of Fame statement, such as the late Steve Sabol and
Art Modell or even former Patriots head coach Bill Parcells may deserve the
nomination as much as anyone, Kraft's place in the history of the game is among
those pioneers and eventually inside the walls of the Hall of Fame.