It looks like the Kraft family took the “No Brady, No Banner” movement seriously.
New England Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Patriots Preview” before Thursday’s preseason finale against the New York Giants, and reiterated what fans have been calling for since quarterback Tom Brady was suspended four games in May.
Kraft was asked by co-host Marc Bertrand what the team would have done if Brady wasn’t present.
“Well, we may have been raising a banner, it just might not have been our championship banner,” Kraft said. “But rest assured that Super Bowl 49’s banner was not being raised if Tom Brady wasn’t on the field. He needed to be here the first game that that banner existed in the stadium. But that’s not to say that some other banner might not have been raised. I guess our contingency plans, which, you have contingencies. So you prepare for them. And we were set with that contingency.”
Bertrand continued, asking if a “one and a two” would be on the separate banner and if the words “free” or “Brady” would be involved.
“No — a one and a two was on it, not ‘free,’ and there may have been some other things on the banner also,” Kraft said. “It was much more factual and substantive than that. Tom might have been a three-time Super Bowl MVP, and a four-time Super Bowl winner. And maybe that would’ve been a part of it too.”
Kraft also advised fans attending Thursday’s season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers to be in their seats by the end of warmups in order to enjoy the entire ceremony.
Brady, of course, had his suspension nullified Thursday by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, meaning he’s free to play in the opener.
On the topic of banners, Bertrand also pointed out that New England’s 16-0 banner from the 2007 season in which the Patriots lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl had been removed. He asked if the banner would be seen again.
Kraft was rather non-committal, explaining that two new DraftKings suites had been built in the area where those banners used to hang, but did offer a comment.
“Since we won another Super Bowl, nothing football related should clutter up the football endzone other than Super Bowl banners,” he said.
But as for the 16-0 banner?
“We might send it to Don Shula,” Kraft said jokingly. “That’s a joke, I’m smiling. I’ve learned that when we talk about things here — that was a joke, and I’m smiling. We didn’t close the deal that year, and we should’ve. No one’s ever had a 16-0 regular season, and no one’s ever gone 18-0 in a season. But we didn’t win a championship. We would’ve been happy to trade a handful of losses for a championship, but it’s a special accomplishment.”
Don’t expect to see that old banner any time soon.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images