Throwback Thursday: When Bob Kraft Loved the Roger Goodell Hiring

Nine years ago this month, the new owner of the New England Patriots gave Goodell the first in a series of hearty back-pats.

Robert Kraft Roger Goodell

Photo via AP

In early August 2006, acclaimed pugilist Mitt Romney was still governor of Massachusetts, while OK GO’s treadmill-filled video for “Here It Goes Again” was coursing through the young Interwebs. On August 9, white smoke billowed from the chimney at the National Football League’s headquarters in New York City—the owners had selected its eighth commissioner, Roger Goodell, replacing outgoing Paul Tagliabue. And boy, was New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft jazzed about it.

In the nine years since Goodell’s ascendance, Kraft remained in the commish’s good graces as one of his most powerful allies. But with the advent of the ever-increasingly ludicrous Deflategate, Kraft has fallen victim to the redheaded monster he helped create.

At the end of an evening, preseason practice following the Goodell hire, Kraft told Albert Breer, then with the Boston Herald:

“The commissioner’s working for a board of directors of 32,” Kraft said. “The fact that (Goodell) knew everyone, he knows the organizations, he knows the head of the union, he knows the major media contacts, that was important.”

From ESPN:

New England’s Robert Kraft, one of the most influential of the newest owners, said: “Roger got his MBA from Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue. That’s not a bad education.”

From USA Today:

“He is ready for this job,” New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “It’s nice to know, you give 25 years to an organization, you’re trained hard, you work hard and you wake up in the middle of the night worrying about things, and your dream comes true, sort of like me buying the Patriots. Roger becoming commissioner is pretty special.”

Despite Kraft’s public support, the hiring process passed over one of his good friends, according to an August 10 edition of the Herald‘s “Inside Track”:

Fidelity vice chairman Bob Reynolds was a finalist in the NFL Commissioner sweepstakes ultimately won by Paul Tagliabue’s No. Roger Goodell the other night. But how, just how, did the Boston money man get on the short list? We hear that Reynolds was not drafted for the primo pigskin position by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is tight with the FIDO big dog. Fidelity Clubhouse at Gillette Stadium ring a bell? The buzz is that Reynolds, who reffed high school football for 15 years, was the choice of Korn/Ferry International chairman Paul Reilly, a Nantucket golfing buddy. Reilly’s executive recruitment firm handled the, ahem, nationwide search for a new commish. “Reynolds can certainly handle tough people, but 32 (NFL franchise) owners? You needed an inside guy for that job,” a source told us.” Are you ready for some Roger???

We’ve had just about enough Roger, thanks.