Ask anyone in the New England Patriots organization what has lifted their team to the first AFC Championship Game in four years and you’ll likely hear the same name, Myra Kraft. The late wife of Patriots owner Robert Kraft lost her battle with cancer on July 20 and it has clearly had a profound impact on everyone in the organization.
There have been several reminders throughout this season showing that the Patriots keep her within the hearts of every player, coach, and staff member. It started at the first home game on September 18 against the San Diego Chargers when the Patriots distributed pins with the initials “MHK” to all 70,000 fans that attended the game as well as wearing those initials on their uniforms all season long. It continued throughout the season with several mentions by players and coaches of the impact she had on them and how they were dedicating the entire season to her.
On December 24, following a comeback win at home against the Miami Dolphins in which the Patriots came back from behind 17-0 to win, the team dedicated the win to Mrs. Kraft and offensive lineman Matt Light presented Robert Kraft with a painting commissioned by the team. The painting is of a group of Patriots huddled together pointing towards the initails “MHK”. Above the initials is the Patriots logo and at the bottom of the painting is the word “dedication” in captial letters. The painting as been placed inside the Patriots locker room so each player sees it as they enter.
Robert Kraft has been vocal about his appreciation for the team this season and how they’ve helped him recover from the death of his wife. He mentioned it again Friday during his press conference. Kraft said, “The team has been my savior. I’ve had my four sons and eight grandchildren, and this team has been like an extended family, and also past players.” He went on explaining how he’s spent more time around the team than he has before and talking about how much they’ve meant to him. “They’ve been great for me, really great. Sometimes, a few of them, come through and they touch the patch. Say, that one was for mama. I hope they keep it going.” Sunday afternoon we’ll see if her memory will propel them to an AFC championship.