Kraft was selected as the George Halas Award winner for his instrumental role in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement for the league during the 2011 offseason. Kraft's role was important, but it was his sacrifice during that time that he was truly heralded for.
Kraft helped to negotiate the contract while also caring for his wife Myra as she battled cancer. The courageous owner traveled back and forth between caring for Myra and the labor negotiations during the lockout, and he credited her with his motivation in helping to end the work stoppage.
An emotional Kraft was quite moved by the honor on Monday, explaining his great appreciation for the recognition.
"I am genuinely honored to receive an award in the name of the legendary 'Papa Bear' Halas," Kraft said. "Knowing the criteria for consideration, I was flattered to learn that I had been nominated. As a lifelong football fan, it is incredibly humbling to join such a distinguished list of NFL players and coaches who have received this honor. I am grateful to the Pro Football Writers Association. For all that the George Halas Award represents, it is a great honor and will always be very special to me."
Myra Kraft died on July 20, 2011, five days before the announcement of a new CBA agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association. The Patriots dedicated their 2011 season to her memory, and came within minutes of giving Kraft the very special gift of a Super Bowl title in her honor.
Kraft was the first player, coach or staff member from the Patriots organization to win the award.
Past winners of the Halas Award include: Titans coach Mike Heimerdinger, Saints quarterback Drew Brees, former Colts head coach Tony Dungy and Hall of Famers Joe Namath, Joe Montana and Dan Marino among others.