When football fans hear the name “Robert Kraft,” the first thing that comes to mind is the New England Patriots and the modern day dynasty that he, with the assistance of others, have helped create. They also think about his desire to save the Patriots franchise and his dedication to rebuild the organization from the ground up. However, when players hear the name “Robert Kraft,” they think of a different man. Not only do they recognize him for his tremendous commitment to his football team, but for his superior dedication to the entire National Football League. In the midst of the 2011 NFL lockout, Robert Kraft played an instrumental role in helping both sides agree to terms that would ultimately save football. Jeff Saturday, an NFL Offensive Lineman—now retired—said, "Without him, this deal does not get done. ... He's a man who helped us save football (Litke)."
Robert K. Kraft was born June 5th, 1941 in Brookline, Massachusetts. Growing up in Massachusetts, Robert Kraft was a pure bred Boston sports fan, with the exception of the Patriots; Kraft was a New York football Giants follower. This was accepted only because the Patriots franchise was not created until 1960, completely unaware that he would eventually own the franchise thirty-four years later Robert Kraft was a student at Brookline High School and graduated in 1959 with high honors. After high school Kraft was awarded an academic scholarship to Columbia University. With almost no hesitation at all, he decided to enroll at Columbia University majoring in business administration. On top of his academic success, Bob also managed to secure a spot on Columbia’s football team. Graduating in 1963, Bob received his bachelor’s degree in business administration. Still wanting more, he continued his post-secondary education at Harvard, where he would, after two more years, receive his Master’s Degree in Business Administration in 1965. At this time Kraft had become a die-hard Boston Patriots fan, following their introduction in the AFL. Robert Kraft became a fan of the Boston Patriots when he attended the games that were held at Harvard University. Harvard University was one of the many locations where the Patriots would play their games. The locations included: Boston University Field, Fenway Park, Boston College Alumni Stadium, and Harvard Stadium (Patriots.com). Before Bob graduated from Harvard, he met and married Myra Haitt, who was the daughter of a famous philanthropist from Worchester, Massachusetts. Robert and Myra would eventually have four children together and form a family of their own. Myra’s father, however, was in charge of the Rand-Whitney packaging company based in Massachusetts (Forbes.com). This gave Robert a chance to get his feet wet in the business field and to learn skills from one of the best in town. Mr. Kraft joined the company and after years of hard work and saving, Bob bought the company in 1972. Robert Kraft wasn’t going to stop with just one business underneath his belt, no; later that year he started a company by the name of International Forest Products. This company gave Kraft control over multiple paper mills and control over distribution and packaging of paper commodities in over eighty different countries. With both International Forest Products and Rand-Whitney packaging company it would make up the largest privately own paper and packaging company in the United States (Forbes.com). As a result of these major acquisitions, Robert Kraft founded an organization called “The Kraft Group,” to serve as the holding company for the family’s business interests. This covered all areas of the business including: distribution, manufacturing of paper goods, sports and entertainment, real estate development and private equity and venture investing (Patriots.com).
In 1985 Robert Kraft bought a share of the New England Patriot’s Stadium, Sullivan Stadium. Just after three short years, Kraft willingly spent...