New EnglandPatriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft speaks at Gillette Stadium on Monday, January 23, 2012.
RKK: For not being here [the podium] in quite a while, I'm showing up a few times [lately]. We're really excited, needless to say. We were trying to think - this year has been dedicated to volunteerism and people who dedicate themselves to their communities. I credit my son, Jonathan, with coming up with this idea of trying to think of those people who help make this country so great, but who don't seek monetary return as the number one thing in their lives, but rather try to serve their community. I personally thought of five areas that I've had experience with and I think most of you have. One being nurses, military personnel, teachers, firemen and policemen. I think they all help to make this country so great and probably are, in my mind, underappreciated and in many cases underpaid. We decided we'd come up with a little program that we're calling ‘Super Bowl for Super People Sweepstakes.' The exact details of that you'll be able to get at Patriots.com. I could start telling you the rules, but I might mess it up. But I think around six o'clock tonight we'll have it. The principal idea is that we have superiors nominating people who they think are most deserving and have done things that are special. We're going to take two people - and this is a New England award, a
Q: You've seen this franchise succeed and have some ups and downs. The jubilation you saw in the locker room last night, how do you think this team is built to handle getting back to work?
RKK: I believe in this team big time. We have a coach who has gone through the learning curve pretty well. It's funny, I was just chatting with Rodney Harrison who was here doing some work with NBC. I was telling him how I had the privilege of having Drew Bledsoe stay at my house the night before the game. He flew in and was one of the honorary captains and then I realized he never played with Drew Bledsoe; Rodney really came in afterwards. What that made me realize and I bring it to Coach [Bill] Belichick and the system we have here that we hopefully have a system and discipline and the best coach in place that will keep people focused. Fortunately, we've had the experience of going to this game before. We have certain disciplines we follow and we'll follow those now. We hope we have the privilege of bringing our fourth championship back to the
Q: There are only a dozen players left from the two teams who played in the Super Bowl four years ago. What does that say about both organizations that there can be such a turnover of playersm, but you're both here again with new rosters?
RKK: I think both teams are blessed to have good coaches and good personnel people. I know the Giants have good ownership. But wow, those two games yesterday were unbelievable. Have the ratings come out? I haven't seen but it must have been - we'll have to call the NFL.
Q: I think the NFC was the third-most watch NFC title game and the Patriots game was the highest rated AFC title game.
RKK: Yeah. I honestly, I'm surprised, usually I see the data, but I've been sort of inundated today. But it was something and they both went right to the end. Somehow I feel we're going to have a Super Bowl that's going to be in the same category. But how lucky are we to be going to
Q: With how competitive Tom Brady is, do you expect him to be extra motivated to bring home the Lombardi trophy after the losses to the Giants in the Super Bowl and this season?
RKK: He's always motivated, whether he's playing golf or playing football. As we saw yesterday, it's more than Tom Brady; it requires a whole team. I think our team, as a team, played remarkably well: special teams, defense and the offense when they had to. It's more that the quarterback because there are a lot of great quarterbacks who have never even been to the championship game. He's always going to be motivated. I see it firsthand, whether it's at practice or anywhere. Look how he got up there yesterday and spoke about his own performance. He didn't beat against the bush.
Q: How vivid are your memories of that 2007 Super Bowl?
RKK: I've never been able to watch it. Last night, you saw a kick being missed at the end of the game. But that kick would have tied the game and then put it into overtime, which is amazing. I do remember the end of the game, a ball going through our cornerback's hands that if he had caught that ball and it hadn't gone through his hands, we would have been able to take a knee and we would have won the game. And, you know, that Eli [Manning] doing a great job escaping from that pile of guys that we had on him, and whether the whistle blows and the great catch and all these things. In the end, there are a lot of little things. That was a great game, that was a great team and we're looking forward to having the privilege of going to