New England Patriots

  • ATLANTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 18: Team owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft looks on prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – NOVEMBER 18: Team owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft looks on prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    On Thursday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach/Contributor Committee and Seniors Committee and revealed its list of 54 individuals who are semifinalists to be members of the Hall’s Class of 2023. Each year, the Coach/Contributor Committee nominates those who don’t appear on the main Hall of Fame ballots, while the Seniors Committee nominates a handful of players who were not selected during their initial induction window on the main ballots.

    Three Patriots – two former and one current – are included on this year’s semifinalist list. Owner Robert Kraft and general manager and scout Frank ‘Bucko’ Kilroy make the list as contributors, while wide receiver Stanley Morgan is represented in the player category. Here’s a little more on each individual…

  • Owner Robert Kraft

    Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

    A Patriots season ticket holder since 1971, purchased the old Foxborough Stadium in 1988. He’d buy the organization six years later in 1994 for a then-record $172 million. During the time leading up to the purchase, he was instrumental in making sure the Patriots stayed in New England. In 2002, he financed the new stadium that became Gillette Stadium, a then-$325 million project.

    Under Kraft’s ownership, the team has seen unprecedented success. They reached the Super Bowl in his fourth year of ownership in 1997, just the second Super Bowl appearance in the then 37-year history of the franchise. Three years later, he hired Bill Belichick away from a division rival in the New York Jets, a move that kicked off a generational two-decade run that included nine more Super Bowl appearances with six championships.

    Kraft has also been a major player in league-wide politics during his time as owner. In 2011, he played a key role in ending a lockout that began threatening the season, with Colts center Jeff Saturday later referring to him as “a man who helped us save football.”

  • General manager/scout Frank ‘Bucko’ Kilroy

    Kilroy had a 10-year playing career with the Eagles in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but is best known for his nearly 50 years as a front office executive and scout. After spending 10 years with Philadelphia, Washington, and Dallas, he joined the Patriots as the director of player personnel in 1971. He’d remain in the organization for the remainder of his career.

    In 1979, Kilroy was promoted to the team’s general manager, and three years after that to vice president and helped built some of the most successful early Patriots teams including the 1986 team that became the first to reach a Super Bowl. That included the drafting of two future Pro Football Hall of Famers in John Hannah and Mike Haynes.

    Later in his career he took on a scouting role, which he held from 1994 until his death in 2007 at the age of 86. Working alongside Bill Belichick, he helped assemble the early Patriots dynasty teams. He’s regarded as “having started many of the scouting services that became fixtures in the NFL. He was also one of the founders of the National Football Scouting Combine, one of the most important personnel events on the NFL’s current offseason calendar.”

  • WR Stanley Morgan

    BUFFALO, NY - 1989: Wide receiver Stanley Morgan #86 of the New England Patriots runs on the field during a 1989 NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Rich Stadium in Buffalo, New York. The Bills defeated the Pats 31-10. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

    BUFFALO, NY – 1989: Wide receiver Stanley Morgan #86 of the New England Patriots runs on the field during a 1989 NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Rich Stadium in Buffalo, New York. The Bills defeated the Pats 31-10. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

    Drafted by the Patriots in the first round in 1977, Morgan played 13 of his 14 NFL seasons in New England. A true deep ball threat, he holds the NFL record for the most yards per reception by a player with at least 500 career catches, at 19.2 yards per catch.

    During the 1979 season, he caught 44 passes for 1,002 yards and 12 touchdowns. Those 12 touchdown catches were a franchise single-season record that stood until Randy Moss reset the NFL record with 23 in 2007. Only Rob Gronkowski has joined Moss in surpassing that total in New England.

    Morgan is still the franchise’s all-time leader in career receiving yards, with 10,352 in 180 career games. No player has gotten within 2,000 yards of his mark – Gronkowski is second among all players with 7,861 yards while Wes Welker has the second-most by a wide receiver with 7,459. In 2007, Morgan was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

  • Kraft, Kilroy, and Morgan represent three of the 54 people (25 players, 29 contributors) the committee will consider over the next few weeks (the full list can be found here). That list will be narrowed down to 12 individuals from each category on July 27. The Coach/Contributors Committee will choose one individual for consideration on August 23, while the Seniors Committee will select up to three on August 16.

    The Patriots are already represented for the Class of 2022. Richard Seymour will be inducted this August, making him the ninth Patriots player to be enshrined in Canton.