FOXBOROUGH – Remarks from owner Robert Kraft, who spoke in front of reporters (he did not take questions) upon the team’s return from Super Bowl XLVI:
“I want to take this opportunity just to say thank you to all the media here who has done such a great job covering us all year. Also to the fans, when we dedicated this season to my sweetheart, I met with the players and coaches and asked them to do everything they could do to make this season special in her honor. The fact we had 18 undrafted free agents, and we’re changing the team, and we started our 5-3, I think our fans were just terrific the way they stayed with us.
“I must tell you, the strength of spirit that I saw with this team is unlike any other team I’ve seen in my 18 years in the NFL. I think that sense of spirit was ignited by our fans, the way they supported our team and also the way they supported our family. That’s something I’m forever going to be grateful for, because I think this was a memorable season and one that I won’t forget for a long time.
“You have a six percent chance of going to the Super Bowl and a 3 percent chance of winning. I think the coaching staff and players really did a remarkable job this year.
“I thought back, this is our 18th year of ownership of the team, and in those 18 years, we’ve had two seasons that are losing seasons – 1995 when we went 6-10 and 2000 when we went 5-11. In the next 16 years, we were able to have winning [or .500] seasons – we went to seven AFC Championship games and six Super Bowls. I think what’s happened is that we’ve set a level of expectation here that is high. I’m very happy with that and it’s the way we run all of our businesses.
“I’m actually very excited about the core group of players we have on this team, about the young players that have come in, and I’m also excited that we have two 1s and two 2s in this upcoming draft. So I really want to say to those fans who supported us all year and who came out even now, even though we arrived early, it’s just unbelievable to me. I felt it all week. It’s the first time I’ve ever spent eight days in Indianapolis and there were a lot of wonderful Patriots fans there, and they’ve continued to support our team and our family.
“We’re not going to change the way we run things. Look, we’re all disappointed in what happened. The beauty of the NFL, and, I can say this as chair of the broadcast committee, the reason the networks pay us the large fees they do is that no one knows what is going to happen in a game -- head coach, quarterback, owner, d-linemen. No one knows. It’s two or three plays that make the difference but makes the game so exciting.
“I’m very proud of this team and what they accomplished this year and I will forever remember the special effort and support that the fans have given to my family and to this team. And I thank you all for the coverage.”