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Patriots Anniversary: The day Robert Kraft purchased the Patriots franchise

23 years ago Boston businessman and diehard Patriots fan Robert Kraft bought the Patriots for $175M. Safe to say he's gotten a good return on investment.

In the early 1990s, the Patriots were having ownership issues. As a franchise, the Patriots had only reached 2 championships (1963, 1985) in their first 34 years of existence. There were rumors about the team possibly relocating to St. Louis at the time. In January 1994, a Boston businessman and diehard Patriot fan named Robert Kraft purchased the team for $175M. In Kraft's quest to pirchase the Patriots, he managed to outleverage the previous three owners by buying land surrounding Foxboro stadium and then the actual stadium itself, preventing two relocation attempts in the process.

Kraft inherited a franchise that had a franchise QB in Drew Bledsoe and a future HOF coach in Bill Parcells. The Patriots would eventually reach Super Bowl XXXI, but a nasty divorce between Kraft and Parcells ensued after the Patriots loss. After three years of Pete Carroll and GM Bobby Grier not meeting expectations, Kraft managed to pry Bill Belichick from the Jets although it cost the team a first round pick to do so. Since then, the Patriots have won the AFC East 14 of 16 seasons, appearing in 11 conference championships, 6 Super Bowls, and winning 4. The Patriots are hoping to get to Super Bowl #7 and win #5 this year.

Under Kraft's ownership, the Patriots have been the NFL's most successful team. He's also one of the few owners in sports who actually funded his own stadium without public money. The Patriots will play for the right to play in their 8th Super Bowl appearance in that stadium against another team with stable ownership in the Rooneys. Kraft has figured out a way to be very involved with the team, but not meddle with the football team. A successful organization always begins at the top and the Patriots have been very fortunate to have one of the best owners in sports running theirs.