INDIANAPOLIS — The 45 seconds I have with Patriots owner Robert Kraft are spent in hallways and elevators, departing Radio Row for a back door of the JW Marriott.
As we walk, Kraft gives his version of a quiet moment following the AFC title game, when QB Tom Brady was caught on camera apologizing to his boss for his play against the Ravens, despite the victory.
“I think he has very high standards,” Kraft said of his signal-caller. “I think he felt that he didn’t play up to his ability, and he was — well, I think it was sort of a private conversation, but I think it was picked up and he said, ‘I’ll play better two weeks from now.’ “
Brady’s deep focus, his intensity, his aching perfectionism are well documented, but Kraft takes none of these qualities for granted.
“We’re so privileged to have him as our quarterback and our team leader,” Kraft said. “I think he’s the best quarterback, at least in modern times, and we’re privileged to have him on our team. And the best thing about him is he’s the same guy he was when he came to us and he was fourth string. He kept his humility. He’s a great leader. And he’s someone I would be proud to have as a son.”
In a season dedicated to Kraft’s late wife, Myra, I asked the Patriots owner how a fourth Super Bowl win would rank against the other three.
“That’s like asking about different children. Every child is special,” Kraft said. “This year has special purpose. My sweetheart’s patch is above the heart of every player.”
He is silent. We reach the edge of the Marriott. Handlers kick open doors, letting in the wind.
Kraft turns, nods, then shakes my hand. Out into the night he goes.
– Marc Sessler