Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 2/7/12
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The 2011-12 season has been tough for any New England Patriots fan. None have suffered more ups and downs, however, than team owner Robert Kraft.
 
In July, before the 2011 season even began, Kraft was a key factor in bringing negotiations between owners and players in the NFL Lockout to a peaceful conclusion. The Lockout, which would have completely stalled everything from player trades to communication between players and coaches, was brought to a peaceful and agreeable solution largely in part to Kraft. He encouraged that complex issues between owners and payers be broken down and settled out-of-court, which helped negotiators more easily find a middle ground. Kraft helped move discussion past the sticking point of the rookie wage system to keep negotiations moving forward at a reasonable pace. It was largely thanks to Kraft that both sides of the lawsuit were able to walk away from the NFL Lockout feeling as though they had had their complaints rectified.
 
It was a hollow victory for Kraft, however. Days before the Lockout ended, Kraft’s wife of 48 years, Myra, lost her battle with cancer. Mrs. Kraft was known as a great philanthropist; she served on the boards of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, her alma mater Brandeis University, and for the Boston Foundation, among others. She was well respected by those that knew her, and supported her husband in his football endeavors until her death. 
 
The New England Patriots dedicated their season to their owner’s wife, wearing patches bearing her initials on their uniforms, over their hearts. After a rough 5-3 start to the regular season, New England went on to win 10 games in a row, securing their spot against the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. Although New England went into both the third and fourth quarters ahead of New York, they were unable to maintain their slim lead when they allowed New York to score six unanswered points in the fourth quarter. The New York Giants left the Super Bowl as World Champions, and the New England Patriots left feeling as though they had let down their owner. During postgame interviews, however, Kraft asserted that he was proud of the strength and spirit displayed by the New England Patriots. He expressed his gratitude to both the players and fans for their support.
 
Kraft has shown a great deal of strength and dignity this season. Without him, this season may never have started. With him, backed by the support of his family and friends, his team, and New England fans around the country, Kraft made the 2011-2012 football year a season to be remembered. 

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