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Patriots valued at $2.6 billion, second behind only Cowboys in NFL 08.20.14 at 11:47 am ET
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Robert Kraft has the Patriots pointed close to the top of NFL net worth, second only to the Cowboys. (Getty Images)

Robert Kraft has the Patriots pointed close to the top of NFL net worth, second only to the Cowboys. (Getty Images)

The Patriots continue to be one of the most valuable commodities in sports.

According to Forbes, the team held by Robert Kraft and his family is worth $2.6 billion, surpassed in the NFL by only the Cowboys, worth $3.2 billion.

The Cowboys are surpassed by only the soccer superpower Real Madrid ($3.4 billion) in terms of overall net worth among all global sports franchises. Thanks in part to Cowboys Stadium (a.k.a. “JerryWorld”), Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has seen his value rise by 36 percent over 2013.

The Cowboys top Forbes’ rankings by a healthy margin for an eighth consecutive season, having risen in value by $900 million over the last 12 months to become the only NFL team worth more than $3 billion.

Here’s the top 5 franchises in the NFL:

Franchise Value
1. Cowboys $3.2 billion
2. Patriots $2.6B
3. Redskins $2.4B
4. NY Giants $2.1B
5. Texans $1.85B

The Cowboys have the NFL’s highest revenue ($560 million) and operating income ($246 million). This year, Jones added something new and different – partnerships with a worldwide luxury watch and cruise line, an NFL first.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are seven teams are worth less than $1 billion: the Chargers ($995 million), Bengals ($990 million), Raiders ($970 million), Jaguars ($965 million), Lions ($960 million), Bills ($935 million) and the Rams ($930 million).

Read More: Dallas Cowboys, Forbes, Jerry Jones, Jonathan Kraft
Bill Belichick wants to see if this Patriots team (like several others) can show ‘mental toughness’ 08.19.14 at 10:12 pm ET
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Bill Belichick leads the Patriots for a 15th season in Foxboro. (Getty Images)

Bill Belichick leads the Patriots for a 15th season in Foxboro. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick hasn’t seen much losing in his career as a head coach, especially in New England.

The only sub-.500 season Belichick has endured with the Patriots was his first, when the 2000 team went 5-11. The next season, his team started 0-2 but ended up as Super Bowl champions. He’s been a record-setting winner ever since.

In Cleveland, of course, it was different. He had losing seasons in four of his five seasons by Lake Erie and endured the most arduous end to a season imaginable. So, Belichick does remember what losing was like. And he remembers something else, a bad feeling in training camp and preseason usually is never followed by a successful regular season.

On Tuesday, he explained why.

“I think it’€™s probably just an overall feeling,” Belichick said. “Just the way that the team works, the way they respond to the things they’€™re asked to do in camp and how they handle some of the tests that they’€™re put through. It’€™s a grind. It’€™s tough. It’€™s a very competitive situation. It’€™s a challenge for the team ‘€“ not just the players – but the entire organization to handle all the things you have to handle in training camp, without something kind of internally being a problem and being ready to go.”

There was no bigger potential distraction than what the 2013 Patriots had to deal with heading into camp, when star tight end Aaron Hernandez was released after being charged with the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd. But that was dealt with on the first day. There was the forearm injury of Rob Gronkowski and whether he would be ready to start the season. That actually became a bigger soap opera but eventually he returned and the team rolled to a second straight 12-4 season and a third straight trip to the AFC championship.

In 2011, owner Robert Kraft lost his wife Myra over the summer after helping negotiate the end of the labor impasse. That year, inspired from the start, the Patriots overcame the Ravens in the AFC championship and nearly overcame Rob Gronkowski‘s bum ankle in a heart-breaking Super Bowl loss to the Giants. The seed of toughness of the 2011 and 2013 teams were sowed in the summer.

“You have to be able to show some mental toughness, some ability to block out distractions and focus on your job and improving individually and as a team and all those things,” Belichick reminded everyone Tuesday. “If you can do those over a training camp period of, call it six weeks, then it’€™s probably a pretty good indication that you have a chance to do it during the year. If you don’t, then it’€™s probably an indication that when the pressure really comes on during the season, which the pressure is going to mount for the team as the season goes, I’€™d say the likelihood of it all just magically coming together without a legitimate foundation, I haven’€™t had a lot of great experience with that.”

In 2001, the Patriots started 0-2, lost their starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe to a life-threatening injury and had an offensive lineman in Joe Andruzzi, whose brother helped save lives at Ground Zero on 9/11. The Patriots somehow managed to overcome the distractions and play with the right kind of emotion, finishing 11-5 en route to a stunning Super Bowl win that started a dynasty.

Of course, Belichick has seen the flip side when his 1995 Browns were submarined by owner Art Modell‘s mid-season announcement he was moving to Baltimore in 1996. The City of Cleveland was devastated and that Browns team could never recover, finishing 5-11.

Read More: 1995 Cleveland Browns, Art Modell, Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
Jason Cole on MFB: Robert Kraft ‘laying the foundation’ to try to convince Darrelle Revis to stay long term 08.06.14 at 12:29 pm ET
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Bleacher Report NFL reporter Jason Cole joined Middays with MFB Wednesday to discuss Patriots corner Darrelle Revis and his contract. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Cole reported Tuesday that the Patriots have had initial discussions with Revis regarding a contract extension after an impressive showing early in training camp.

“They haven’t started negotiating, so let’s peel it back a little bit,” Cole said. “I will say that Robert Kraft is laying the foundation and the work for trying to convince Darrelle to stay here long term. He’s doing the thing that he’s best at, which is schmoozing people and making people feel like they should buy into the Patriot Way and all those kinds of things that Kraft is excellent at. But as far as terms of getting to the point of talking about dollars and cents, they haven’t gotten that far.”

Added Cole: “It’s more like, ‘We love how you’ve done this offseason and we love how you’ve done in camp. You would look great in a Patriot uniform for the rest of your career.’ All of those little things that you put into somebody’s mind that make them think that being a Patriot long term is in the best interest of themselves, not just of the Patriots as a team.

“That’s probably why Robert Kraft is the best businessman in the league. He’s really good at convincing people to do things his way and making them understand, at least from his viewpoint, that you’re actually good for them, too.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Jason Cole, Robert Kraft,
Robert Kraft: NFL should push for team in London by end of decade 07.17.14 at 9:21 pm ET
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Robert Kraft said Thursday the league “should work very hard” to have a team in London before the decade ends.

Kraft made the comment today at a conference of television critics in California. The Patriots owner, who has been a longtime advocate of having a team overseas, has pushed for his team to play in the games in London on several occasions — New England has played games at Wembley Stadium in 2009 and 2012.

In all, the league will play three regular-season games in London in the coming season, with the Jaguars, Falcons and Raiders hosting contests at Wembley. Regular-season games have been played in London annually since 2007.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Robert Kraft,
Michael McCann on D&C: ‘I don’t think there’s anything in those [Aaron Hernandez] text messages that implicates the Patriots or Bill Belichick’ 07.15.14 at 11:10 am ET
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Sports Illustrated legal expert Michael McCann joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss the latest on former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. To hear more from D&C, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Court documents on Monday revealed evidence that prosecutors turned over to Hernandez’s defense in the Odin Lloyd murder case. The documents included interviews with Patriots personnel including Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft, and 33 pages of text messages between Belichick and Hernandez from February 2013 to May 2013.

“I think Hernandez is interested in developing some type of — at least potentially — some type of defense where maybe he lacked the mental capacity to commit first-degree murder, that he doesn’t have the sophistication or there are other mental defects, if you like, that would have prevented him from engineering the murder of Odin Lloyd,” McCann said.

“I don’t think there’s anything in those text messages that implicates the Patriots or Bill Belichick. I have a feeling that they’re going to be — and again, I’m speculating — something more along the lines of conversations about plays or other teams’ players that the Patriots may have interest in. I don’t think there’s going to be anything in there that damns the Patriots.”

The content of the text messages haven’t been made public, but McCann said he doesn’t expect there to be anything in the texts that would put the Patriots in a dicey legal situation.

“I think we would have already seen the Patriots, if not charged with a crime, some indication that that would happen,” he said. “It’s now been over a year; I would be surprised that Belichick would have been able to just continue to coach without any charges if he’s in any way implicated in this case. I could be wrong, there could be something in there, but I have a feeling it’s not going to be, again, as damning of Belichick.

“Now, there is a clause in the collective bargaining agreement, Article 21, that prohibits meetings between coaches and players during the offseason. Maybe that was broken through these texts, but that’s really an NFL issue, not a legal issue.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Bill Belichick, Michael McCann, Robert Kraft
Reports: Detectives have interviewed Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft regarding Aaron Hernandez 07.14.14 at 3:57 pm ET
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Detectives working the Aaron Hernandez murder cases have interviewed Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft and Nick Caserio about the former Patriots tight end, according to multiple media reports.

The revelations were unearthed in documents filed in Fall River Superior Court. The filings, which were made public on Monday, list the evidence prosecutors in the Odin Lloyd murder case have turned over to Hernandez’s defense lawyers in advance of the trial. It includes the fact that Belichick and Kraft have made statements to authorities, as well as the fact that detectives have also interviewed director of football Berj Najarian and strength coaches Harold Nash and Moses Cabrera.

In addition, the filings revealed that prosecutors have turned over 33 pages of text messages between Belichick and Hernandez from February 2013 to May 2013.

Hernandez, who played for the Patriots from 2010 through 2012, faces two more murder counts in a July 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Berj Najarian, Bill Belichick, Harold Nash
Rob Gronkowski and Robert Kraft dance together at Beyonce-Jay Z concert 07.04.14 at 11:24 am ET
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It’s no surprise New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski enjoyed himself at the Beyonce-Jay Z concert Tuesday night, but it was somewhat surprising who joined Gronkowski dancing in the crowd at Gillette Stadium — Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

If it wasn’t clear in that video, Gronkowski was in the blue shirt dancing alongside Kraft.

http://instagram.com/p/p7pBpWp-zN/?modal=true

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Rob Gronkowski, Robert Kraft,
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