Robert Kraft and the Patriots have handed out a lot of game balls since he bought the team in 1994.
On Sunday, after the Patriots defeated the Steelers 17-14, Kraft received the game ball commemorating his 500th win.
Here’s a look at the post-game celebration, when players called for a speech from the 81-year-old team owner.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick noted that the Patriots have played many major games in Pittsburgh.
“I think it’s fitting that this one comes on Mr. Kraft’s 500th win,” Belichick said as he handed Kraft the ball, before bursting into a grin as he pulled him into a hug.
Kraft took the ball.
“Thank you all,” he said. “Our family has a chance – I speak for” [Kraft’s son, Patriots president] Jonathan here too – we have the opportunity to be in a number of different companies. There is no company like the NFL. We bring the community together and we play as a team. No one can do it alone.”
Growing up as a Patriots fan in Brookline, Kraft paid a record price to take over the team in 1993, and — as he once told a reporter — broke “all of my personal financial rules” to buy a team that year. before had the last income. . He had previously bid for the Celtics and the Red Sox.
However, with the Patriots, Kraft found a perfect landing spot. With the help of Belichick and Tom Brady, he has put together the best win rate of any NFL property group, helping save the Patriots from their reputation as one of the league’s bottom feeders.
“What you have done here today is so kind to my family and I thank you all,” Kraft told the players on Sunday. “And to do it here in Pittsburgh is pretty special. Thank you.”
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