It’s been 25 years since Robert Kraft bought the New England Patriots and kept the team in New England preventing what appeared to be an inevitable move to St. Louis.
It was January 21, 1994 when the Brookline, Mass., native and long-time Patriots season ticket holder agreed to spend a then-record $172 million to buy his hometown team.
— The Hall presented by Raytheon (@TheHall) January 20, 2019
While addressing the media that winter day, he vowed to do everything he could to bring a championship to New England. He also knew he needed a new stadium to remain competitive.
The first Super Bowl championship game at the end of the 2001 season and the pristine Gillette Stadium opened just a few months later.
The Patriots had climbed atop of the football world where they have remained for almost two full decades.
Consider that in the five seasons (1989-1993) preceding the start of Kraft era, the Patriots were a moribund franchise. They were an NFL-worst 19-61 (.238) during that span and twice held the NFL’s first overall draft pick.
The turnaround under Kraft was swift and dramatic. With a new direction and proven, stable leadership committed to the fans and the region, the Patriots made the playoffs in Kraft’s first year as owner and in four of his first seven years before eventually establishing an NFL dynasty.
Under Kraft’s leadership, the Patriots have won more games (310) division titles (18), conference crowns (9) and Super Bowl championships (5) than any other NFL team. Additionally, the Patriots have achieved the most winning seasons (22) and have the fewest losing seasons (2) since Kraft assumed ownership beginning in 1994.
Super Bowl LII marked the Patriots ninth Super Bowl appearance since Kraft purchased the team, a period during which no other team has appeared in more than four Super Bowls. In Kraft’s 25 seasons, the Patriots have qualified for the playoffs 20 times, more than tripling the franchise’s six playoff appearances during its first 34 seasons. In 2018, Kraft earned his 22nd winning season in 25 years of owning the franchise.
On January 13th, 2019 the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in the team’s 26th home playoff game under Kraft’s ownership. In the franchise’s first 34 years, the Patriots hosted one home playoff game, a 31-14 loss to the Houston Oilers (Dec. 31, 1978). In the 25 years since Kraft purchased the team, the Patriots have gone 22-3 in 25 home playoff games, including winning their first 11 during the Kraft ownership era before experiencing a loss in 2010. The Patriots are currently in the midst of a 10-game home playoff winning streak.
Overall, Kraft has 32 career postseason wins as an owner, third-most in NFL history behind the Rooney Family in Pittsburgh (36) and the Green Bay Packers (34). The Rooney Family founded the Steelers in 1933 while the Green Bay Packers were founded in 1919.
The Patriots have established NFL records for wins in a decade twice in this century. The 2000-09 Patriots set the NFL record for most wins in a decade in with 126. The 2010-present Patriots have now won 127 games in only 9 seasons.
Kraft kept the team New England, delivered on his promise to bring a championship to New England five times over, privately financed a new stadium in Foxborough, Mass., built a Patriots Hall of Fame and developed the Patriot Place lifestyle center. He also has been an influential owner in league circles, helping to negotiate record television contracts and playing an instrumental role in ending a league work stoppage in 2011. Overall, it’s been a pretty impressive 25 years.
Of all of the great teams throughout the Super Bowl era, the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers have set a standard of extended excellence above all of others. The 49ers run of success spanned two decades, while New England’s streak is still in progress.
Below is a capsule look at the Patriots success under Kraft’s leadership:
TOTAL VICTORIES SINCE 1994 (REGULAR SEASON)
New England Patriots 279
Pittsburgh Steelers 254
Green Bay Packers 249
TOTAL VICTORIES SINCE 1994 (INCL. POSTSEASON)
New England Patriots 311
Pittsburgh Steelers 274
Green Bay Packers 269
MOST HOME VICTORIES SINCE 1994 (INCL. POSTSEASON)
New England Patriots 178
Green Bay Packers 160
Pittsburgh Steelers 155
Denver Broncos 146
WINNING PERCENTAGE SINCE 1994 (INCL. POSTSEASON)
New England Patriots .697 (311-135-0)
Pittsburgh Steelers .634 (274-158-2)
Green Bay Packers .619 (269-16-2)
Denver Broncos .589 (249-174-0)
Super Bowl Championships Since 1994
New England Patriots 5
Denver Broncos 3
Baltimore Ravens 2
Green Bay Packers 2
Pittsburgh Steelers 2
N.Y. Giants 2
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE 1994
New England Patriots 10
Pittsburgh Steelers 4
Denver Broncos 4
Green Bay Packers 3
N.Y. Giants 3
Seattle Seahawks 3
DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE 1994
New England Patriots 18
Pittsburgh Steelers 13
Green Bay Packers 12
Indianapolis Colts 10
PLAYOFF VICTORIES SINCE 1994
New England Patriots 32
Pittsburgh Steelers 20
Green Bay Packers 20
PLAYOFF VICTORIES ALL TIME
Rooney Family, Pittsburgh (1933-present) 36
Green Bay Packers (1919-present) 34
Robert Kraft, New England Patriots (1994-present) 32
PLAYOFF GAMES PLAYED SINCE 1994
New England Patriots 46
Green Bay Packers 36
Pittsburgh Steelers 34
Indianapolis Colts 30
PLAYOFF SEASONS SINCE 1994
New England Patriots 20
Green Bay Packers 18
Indianapolis Colts 17
Pittsburgh Steelers 16