This NFL season began on the heels of a 4-1/2-month lockout of the players by the owners of the 32 teams. It ends with two of the owners most active in ending the labor strife, the Giants’ John Mara and the Patriots’ Robert Kraft, here at the Super Bowl with their teams.
“I’m very happy for Bob because he put his heart and soul into those negotiations during a very difficult time for him and his family,” Mara said this week. “So I think the success they’ve had is well deserved.”
The labor agreement was completed in July, just days after Kraft’s wife, Myra, died of cancer. Kraft and Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday embraced when the deal was announced outside the offices of the NFL Players Association in downtown Washington.
“Everybody knew what he was going through, and he still found time to be there with us…. I don’t think we get the deal done without him being there,” Mara said.
The Patriots’ dominance under Kraft’s ownership has been widely celebrated. But Mara, too, has found a winning formula as he follows in the footsteps of his late father, Wellington Mara, one of the most influential figures in league history. The Giants have remained a model of stability under John Mara’s leadership.
“I am proud of that,” he said. “That’s something that we strive for around here. I look at the other successful franchises in this league—the Patriots, the Steelers, Green Bay, Baltimore—that’s what they have. They have stability. They don’t make big changes every year. You try to get the right people in place and you try to let them do their jobs, and then you try to have some sense of stability.
“There’s enough turnover in this league as it is. And if you can keep your key people in place and have some confidence to let them do their jobs and ride the ups and downs, then I think you have a chance to be successful. If you start making impulsive changes, I think that’s a recipe for disaster. We’ve tried to avoid that.”
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