On this day in 1994, the landscape of the NFL would dramatically change. Although it wasn’t obvious at the time, Robert Kraft’s purchase of the New England Patriots became the first block in a foundation that would become one of the greatest franchises that the NFL or any sport ever has produced.
Kraft purchased the team from James Orthwein (on the left in the photo accompanying this item) for $227 million. The team now has an estimated value in excess of $4 billion.
The Patriots have qualified for 10 Super Bowls since Kraft bought the team, winning six of them from 2001 through 2018. The Patriots also have won the AFC East 19 times since 1994, and they made it to the AFC Championship every year from 2011 through 2018. In all, the Patriots have hosted 27 playoffs games in 26 years, winning 23 of them.
Yes, the 2019 season represented a step back for the Patriots. But there’s every reason to believe that the Patriots will continue to find a way to be competitive, with or without Tom Brady at quarterback. With 20 years and counting of Bill Belichick as head coach, the Patriots will be in good hands for years to come — especially with a growing sense that Steve Belichick, Bill’s son, eventually will be taking over.
However it plays out moving forward, amazing things have happened since January 21, 1994 for the Patriots and their fans. At the time, real doubt existed as to whether the Patriots would even stay in Boston. Stay they have, and stay they surely will. The only question is when they’ll get their seventh Super Bowl win, and how many more they’ll capture.