20 Years Ago: The Patriots Announced a Move to Connecticut
According to WFSB, yesterday (November 19) marked the twenty year anniversary of an announcement that the Patriots would move to Connecticut. November 19th, 1998 team owner Robert Kraft and then Governor John Rowland made the announcement at a press conference.
Connecticut was supposed to pay for construction of a new stadium and in return would get back a share of team revenue. The construction costs were estimated at around $380 million.
The 1998 team had Drew Bledsoe as their starting quarterback. They also featured some key players that would end up part of a Patriots dynasty. Willie McGinest was on the roster, so was Ty Law. The Pats finished the year 9-7.
Why didn't it happen? Robert Kraft wanted the stadium built by 2002. In 1999, it became evident that timeline would not work, as things were moving too slow. Robert Kraft pulled the deal off the table and chose instead to build in Foxboro, MA. The announcement that the CT deal was dead came in April of '99.
What happened next? Tom Brady was drafted in 2000. Since then, the team has played in EIGHT Super Bowls and won FIVE. It's almost as if the dynasty started just as Connecticut was removed from the equation.
I'm no economist, but I have a feeling that even a small percentage of revenue from eight Super Bowl appearances could have meant a lot of money for CT. What about the cost, you say? $380 million to build a stadium is unheard of now. You can't build a stadium parking lot for that now. To put this into perspective, in 2009, the Cowboys opened their new stadium in Arlington,TX. It cost around $1.2 billion — that was 2009.
I don't know how to sum up the missed opportunity here. Maybe a new state slogan would be appropriate? "CT, Opportunity, knocks, we trip on the area rug and spill chili on the floor." It's a bit wordy, but appropriate.