Robert Kraft: My connection with Jay-Z helped pave way for meeting with Roger Goodell

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (left) and Patriots owner Robert Kraft at the Super Bowl in 2019.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (left) and Patriots owner Robert Kraft at the Super Bowl in 2019.file/jim davis/Globe staff/Globe Staff

Robert Kraft played a sizable role in making the connection between music mogul Jay-Z and the National Football League, the Patriots owner said Wednesday.

Kraft told WEEI he and the musician are “good” friends, and the owner relied on that background when it came to getting him and Roger Goodell together for a recent meeting that explored a variety of potential partnerships between the league and Jay-Z’s entertainment and sports company, Roc Nation.

“We’re involved with the NFL as you know, and Jay-Z is a good friend,” Kraft said. “We’ve been doing some stuff in some charitable areas, and we were happy to introduce each side and try to help them work together.”


Pro Football Talk reported previously Kraft proposed a meeting between the commissioner and the musician in Los Angeles in January, leading to the talks that started the partnership. It’s expected Roc Nation will have a hand in helping produce the Super Bowl halftime show, and enlist other entertainers to produce other content for the NFL. Jay-Z also is expected to play a role when it comes to social justice initiatives via the league’s “Inspire Change” program.

Kraft also spoke briefly about the reasons behind the team’s run of success, and he pointed to the long-running relationship between coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

“I think if people projected out 25 years ago, what’s the chances of having a head coach and a quarterback for 20 years, who happen to be pretty good, each pretty good at what they do,” Kraft said.

“That doesn’t mean you’re not going to go through some rough times,” he added. “Ownership’s job is to try to keep it together and navigate that. I am probably most proud that we’ve been able to do that.”

Kraft and his son Jonathan were appearing to help promote this week’s WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon. Jonathan was asked about opening night, and the plans the team might have when it comes to the unveiling of the sixth Super Bowl banner.


“It’ll be a fun night, and we look forward to a lot of energy,” Jonathan said. “And it’s nice to open up against the Steelers too because obviously between our two clubs over the last few decades, that’s been a real rivalry. So the banner ceremony should be great, and then it should be a great football game to kick off the season.”

Robert reminisced about how far the family has come, going from fans yearning for one Super Bowl title to owners’ prepping to celebrate their sixth title.

“Think about how cool it is for us as we were fans and dreaming about getting one, and here it is, we’re about to start our 26th season and we have the privilege of doing this sixth one,” Robert said.

Follow Christopher Price @cpriceNFL.