Robert Kraft surprised Dante Scarnecchia by announcing his Patriots Hall of Fame induction

The former Patriots assistant was selected for induction by Robert Kraft as a "lifelong contributor to the franchise."

Dante Scarnecchia
Dante Scarnecchia in 2019. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Longtime Patriots assistant coach Dante Scarnecchia will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2023, according to a team announcement on Thursday.

Scarnecchia, 75, spent 34 years working with the Patriots, notably coaching the team’s offensive line and being a part of six Super Bowl championships.

While most inductees into the Patriots Hall of Fame are nominated by a committee, team chairman and CEO Robert Kraft is also empowered to announce inductees as “lifelong contributors to the franchise.”

According to ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss, Kraft attended a recent meeting of the nomination committee and — with Scarnecchia present as a member of the committee — announced the former assistant’s induction.

Scarnecchia was “stunned,” according to Reiss, and the decision was greeted by a standing ovation.


“Dante Scarnecchia is recognized as one of the greatest assistant coaches of all time,” Kraft said in a statement. “He is the first Patriots assistant coach to receive this honor and I can’t think of a more deserving person.”

Kraft has only selected “contributors” for induction on three other occasions: Billy Sullivan (2009), Gil Santos (2012), and Tracy Sormanti (2021).

“He earned the respect of his fellow coaches and players, many of whom credited Dante for making them the best they could be,” Kraft said. “I am proud that his legacy will be preserved in our Hall of Fame forever.”


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on