FOXBOROUGH --- Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he "just pinched myself'' Friday when he introduced honorary captains Matt Light and Kevin Faulk at a press conference Friday at Gillette Stadium. Kraft recalled as a long-suffering season ticket holder all those years the Patriots never made it to the playoffs.
"I was thinking as a fan sitting in the stands we had the privilege of going to one home playoff game in '78, which we lost to Houston,'' Kraft said, referring to New England's 31-14 setback against the Oilers at then Schaeffer's Stadium.
"I thought about that last weekend,'' Kraft said. "Today we're sitting here on the eve of [the team's ninth appearance in the AFC Championship] and our family has owned the team 19 years and this is our 17th home playoff game.''
Since that setback to the Oilers, Kraft noted, the Patriots have gone 14-2 in home playoff games, winning 11 in a row before dropping back-to-back games against the Ravens (33-14) in a 2010 AFC Wild Card matchup and to the New York Jets (21-18) in the a divisional-round matchup in 2011.
"I was thinking last year we had our honorary captains -- Drew Bledsoe, Ty Law, [Tedy] Bruschi [and Troy Brown] -- representing the '96 and '01 [AFC Champions], which were our first two championship games [under Kraft's ownership],'' Kraft said. "Our two [honorary] captains this year have been here for five [AFC titles].
"How do you do this? It's about having great coaches, but most of all it's about having great players and we've been blessed to have some wonderful players here,'' Kraft said. "I feel a special connection and attachment to both Matt Light and Kevin Faulk, who have been here for five [AFC] championship games, but also three Super Bowl titles.''