Patriots owner Robert Kraft was a guest on ESPN New York 98.7 FM on Friday, answering questions from hosts Ryan Ruocco and Stephen A. Smith (listen here).
The interview began with Kraft reflecting on buying the Patriots in 1994, as well as the franchise-shaping decision of hiring coach Bill Belichick.
A few other notable soundbites:
On if he considers the Jets the Patriots’ biggest rival. “I would say right now, probably they are. We see them every year. The only teams we see every year are Miami, Buffalo and the Jets, and I think given the history of what’s gone on since we’ve owned [the team], it’s great for the sport. It’s a pretty healthy rivalry. I would say this is the game that always gets the biggest crowd in my box. People want to come to this game. It’s good for the league.”
On the personalities of coaches Bill Belichick & Rex Ryan, and if he could have someone with a Ryan-type personality as his coach. “Part of it is the marketplace you’re dealing with. If I owned the New York Jets … I think a guy like Rex Ryan, if I were a Jet fan, I’d love having Rex Ryan as my coach. First of all, he’s an exciting guy to listen to, and he’s a heck of a coach, too. They went to the [AFC] Championship his first two years. I do look at results and he’s done pretty well. In the end, for me, I would accept anyone who can deliver and execute and win. That’s what you want. I don’t think there is any cookie-cutter approach. A lot of it is what works for [Jets owner] Woody [Johnson] too and what he feels is right for him. I think he’s a colorful guy and I think he represents the Jets franchise well and he’s exciting.”
On concern regarding the Patriots at 3-3. “I’m going to give you an interesting statistic. We’ve lost our three games this season by a total of four points. In the history of the NFL, no team has a lower cumulative point differential in its first three losses of the season than we’ve had. Actually, there are 23 teams that have lost at least three games. The point differential – we have four. The one closest to us is Green Bay, who lost three [games] by 13 [points]. Then it goes all the way to Buffalo, who has lost by 86. The Jets have lost their three games by 57 points. So, you know, it says to me that three or four plays in those games going differently, our record would be much different. Then I go back to last year, just responding to your question – we were 13-3 and the Giants were 9-7, just squeaked in [to the playoffs] and they wind up beating us right at the end in the Super Bowl. I guess your record, at this point, is important. But it’s most important how you’re really playing in December if you’re privileged to get into the playoffs in January.”
On Tom Brady being 35 and if he wonders how much time he has left playing at a high level. “Well, we’re privileged to have Tommy as our quarterback. He takes great care of himself in terms of the food he eats and how he conditions and how he trains and how he studies tape. I know he’s told me he’d like to play for 10 more years and I’d sure like to see him do that. But I’ve learned, sort of like watching Peyton [Manning] come back, and I think all of us that are great fans of the NFL love it but we worry about his health. It looks like he’s done fine. We’d like to keep Tommy in place for as long as he wants to do it and is capable of doing it.”