Speaking at an event in New York on Tuesday, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft offered insight into his thoughts and feelings about how the team overcame adversity during its Super Bowl LI run last season.
During a wide-ranging interview at the Bloomberg Breakaway Summit, Kraft expressed his feelings about Tom Brady‘s four-game Deflategate suspension and talked about the Patriots‘ 25-point comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl.
“Well, I don’t hold grudges, but I also don’t forget anything,” Kraft said when asked if there was any “ill-will” between him and the NFL over Brady’s suspension. “Envy and jealousy are incurable diseases. I understand why people… I mean if I had never won a Super Bowl — I’m going into my 24th season as an owner, I mean I’m passionate about having the privilege of owning a football team in my hometown — I would be so angry at our folks and think about what can I do to do it?
“So our competitors, I understand how they brought pressure on the league office to be very strong and not compromise in an issue that was nonsense and foolishness.”
Still, Kraft saw at least one good aspect of the suspension — it helped keep Brady fresh, at least for the first part of the regular season.
“He didn’t play the first four games, which is 25 percent of the season,” Kraft said. “The good news is, he took no wear and tear on his body.”
“With three minutes to go in the third — I mean whatever team you were for, there are a lot of happy anti-Patriot fans — but with three minutes to go in the third quarter, we had a .04 percent chance to win, 99.6 percent chance to lose, and to come back after everything that had happened, you know, it’s a great lesson for the millennials,” Kraft said. “I don’t know how many we have in this room, but how important hard work, perseverance, never giving back and hanging in there and keep coming back, you know that was the story of this Super Bowl. We all stay together in tough times, and it’s really tough.”
Kraft, 75, was a 23-year Patriots season-ticket holder when he purchased the team in 1994. The team has won five Super Bowls under his ownership.