Editor’s note: Each day during the week of Dec. 31, NESN.com will feature content based on key events from Robert Kraft’s tenure as owner of the Patriots. “Krafting a Legacy” will examine how the Patriots got to where they are today following Kraft’s purchase of the team.
Robert Kraft is not only well respected within his own organization. He’s considered by many to be one of the most influential owners in all of football.
At no point in NFL history was Kraft’s impact on the league more apparent than during and immediately following the 2011 NFL lockout. Despite spending his days alongside his ailing wife, Myra, Kraft still found time to be a key player in the painstaking labor negotiations.
Kraft’s involvement in getting a deal done and helping to ensure the NFL didn’t miss any games as a result of the labor dispute didn’t go unnoticed, either. Many of those associated with the negotiations or who followed the negotiations were quick to point out Kraft’s major rule, in some cases labeling him the man most responsible for saving the season.
When Jeff Saturday, a Pro Bowl center and member of the NFLPA Executive Committee, embraced Kraft at a news conference to announce that a deal had been struck, it was clear that Kraft was more than just a driving force at the bargaining table.
He was football’s savior.