Ever since Robert Kraft purchased the New England Patriots, he’s become an integral player in the NFL. He’s been lauded for his experience and stewardship of one of the most beloved football teams in America. But how did he manage to turn a team who had finished below .500 six times in nine years into a model franchise that has won three Super Bowls?
In this post, we’ll take you step-by-step through his ownership and how he turned the Pats from cellar dwellers to champions.
How Robert Kraft Became an NFL Owner
Robert Kraft was born in 1936. He grew up in the affluent neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio, not far from the university that would become his alma mater, Ohio State University. There he played football and basketball before graduating with a degree in marketing.
After graduation, Robert Kraft found work at Bulova Watch Company. He took the job after literally running into the owner of the watch company, who was looking for someone to help him manage his team.
Kraft’s next job would come with a twist. Kraft was hired by Ted Williams, who was still playing baseball in retirement. He was given administrator of all things related to the Red Sox and soon became de facto manager of the team, allowing Williams to focus on his final year in the league. After Williams retired, Kraft would assume Williams’ title as president of the Red Sox.
In 1986, Robert Kraft purchased the New England Patriots, who had just finished their second consecutive last place season.
How Robert Kraft Turned the Pats Around
Kraft’s first order of business was to fire his predecessor’s head coach, Bob Simmons. He took over himself and implemented a new offense that featured a lot of running and no-huddle play. The Patriots’ offense under Kraft became known as “Pat Patriot”, which sounds like something you’d find in Dr. Seuss stories. Refer to this page for more information.
More about Kraft on https://www.pro-football-reference.com/executives/KrafRo0.htm