Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Changing Franchise Tradition To Honor Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Getty Image / Maddie Meyer

Former Patriots and Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady returned to Gillette Stadium Sunday for the first time as a retired player. And, Robert Kraft announced a huge change in team rules when it comes to honoring the NFL’s most prolific winner.

Traditionally, players need to wait four years post-retirement to be inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame. But, Kraft is going to waive that rule for the player who turned a franchise mired in mediocrity into one that is now one of the NFL’s crown jewels.

Tom Brady was recognized on Sunday at halftime during the team’s week 1 matchup with the defending NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles.

If you’re going to change the rules for anyone, it’s going to be Tom Brady. The Michigan product was drafted in the sixth round in 2000. But, as soon as Drew Bledsoe got hurt in week two of the 2001 season, things changed in a big way for the fortunes of the Patriots.
Five months later, they were Super Bowl Champions for the first time. And, as Tom Brady won five more Super Bowls in New England, he was the poster boy of an era of Boston sports that saw the all four major teams win championships during Brady’s tenure.

Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick had a less-than-ideal divorce following the 2019 season, and Brady went on to Tampa Bay. There, he won a Super Bowl in his first year with the team, making the playoffs all three seasons before he retired following last season.

Robert Kraft has plenty of good reasons to go out of his way to hire Tom Terrific, one of them certainly being financial. According to statista, the franchise valuation went from just over $500 million in 2002 to $6.4 billion today. Part of that is the worth of every NFL franchise has considerably increased. But, Brady turned a franchise that had long lagged behind the Celtics, Red Sox, and Bruins in the Boston metro to arguably the city’s favorite team.

Despite the end of Tom Brady’s tenure in New England being less-than-ideal, with his last major moment with the team being a pick-six against the Titans in the 2020 Wild Card Round, he says he is a Patriot for life.