The Patriots to honor memory of their "Jewish mother," Myra Kraft, at the Super Bowl
It's a tradition for players in the Super Bowl to wear a patch with the Roman numerals of the game's year on the left side of their chests (46, or XLVI, this year). On Sunday in Indianapolis, the Patriots will be wearing it on the right side; the left is already occupied by a patch honoring Myra Hiatt Kraft, the wife of team owner Robert Kraft who died in July of 2011.
The daughter of one successful businessman—Jacob Hiatt—and the wife of another—Robert Kraft, Myra Kraft was a dedicated and inspired philanthropist. The Krafts were generous benefactors of Israeli institutions and of Brandeis, her alma mater, but they also endowed a professorship of comparative religion at the College of the Holy Cross. From 1983 to 2011, Myra Hiatt Kraft served on the board of the Boston Boys and Girls Club and, in 1995, became the first woman to chair that board. She also ran the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation.
After Myra Kraft's death, the Patriots dedicated the season to her memory. The players have been wearing patches with her initials, "MHK," over their hearts ever since. A piece on the Boston NPR station, WBUR, called Myra Kraft a "Jewish mother" to the team. Pats defensive lineman Vince Wilfork told WBUR that Myra befriended many of the players, asking about their families and making sure they were feeling okay. “We both enjoyed each other,” Wilfork said. “My friends were so different. Lot of guys want to talk about football, but with her it really wasn’t about football. She wanted to know how you are as a person.”
Last summer, more than 1500 people attended Myra's funeral, including the National Football League’s 2011 MVP and the host of NBC’s hit show, “The Celebrity Apprentice,” the Presidents of the oldest Catholic college in New England and of the only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored university in the country (the President of Harvard was there, too), Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Governor Deval Patrick, and Boston Mayor Tom Menino.
Myra's spirit has inspired and guided the Patriots throughout the season. As they prepare for the big game Sunday, they will carry the memory of the team's "Jewish mother" close to their hearts. More than 70,000 lapel pins with Myra’s initials “MHK” will be distributed to fans as they enter the stadium, giving fans an opportunity to join Patriots players and staff in honoring her memory.
“There’s something special going on. It’s hard to put into words. It’s really hard for anyone else outside our organization to fully understand,” offensive lineman Matt Light told WBUR. “But she meant a ton to everything we do. And this season will be special forever because of that."