Whoever wins the Super Bowl this year between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers might want to make sure to keep their ring away from Vladimir Putin…
I mean, that should seem obvious. And with the fighting going on between Ukraine and Russia right now it probably won’t be an issue. But Putin already has one Super Bowl ring, thanks to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
But Kraft never intended for Putin to keep it…
As it turns out, the New England Patriots owner met with Putin in 2005 in an effort to “stimulate commerce between the United States and Russia,” alongside Citigroup President (at the time) Sandy Weill, media executive Rupert Murdoch, along with a number of American big business executives.
During a press conference at Konstantinovsky Palace near St. Petersburg, Weil allegedly suggested that Kraft should show Putin his Super Bowl XXXIX ring. The Patriots had won back-to-back Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004.
Putin was drooling over the behemoth ring, and said to Kraft:
“I could kill someone with this ring.”
Ummm, come again?
Kraft, trying to suck up to Putin, said:
“You could kill someone without it. You were the head of the KGB.”
Good one Bob…
But when Kraft then stuck his hand out to get it back, Putin stuffed it in his pocket and walked away. The dude straight up said he could kill someone with it and the TOOK it.
Needless to say, Robert Kraft wanted his Super Bowl ring back. Not because of the value (him and Putin obviously both have the money to buy a more expensive ring) but because it’s a damn Super Bowl ring (and he probably didn’t realize at the time that he was going to win three more).
But here’s where it gets even more hilarious.
Kraft started going around telling everybody and their mother that Putin stole his Super Bowl ring. Naturally, the United States government didn’t like a story about the mad dictator of Russia stealing from an NFL owner going around… not exactly good for US/Russian relations.
The Bush administration called up Kraft and basically told him to suck it up:
“The specter of Russia’s president stealing jewelry from the owner of America’s highest-profile sports team was detrimental to the already shaky diplomatic relations between the two superpowers.
Kraft wasn’t happy. After hanging up, he begrudgingly decided that under the circumstances he would honor the Bush administration’s request. Myra supported his decision.”
Kraft then released a statement essentially saying that he willfully gave Putin the ring as a gift (except he definitely didn’t).
But then in 2013, Kraft contradicted his story while speaking at the Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala:
“I took out the ring and showed it to (Putin), and he put it on. I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.
I really didn’t (want to). I had an emotional tie to the ring, it has my name on it. I don’t want to see it on eBay.”
And then in 2017, Kraft was still going on about the ring and even offered to get Putin a new one with his own name on it if he could have his original back.
“I was willing to have one made with his name on it. Maybe we’ll have the new president bring it to him when he connects with him.”
Something tells me he isn’t getting it back… and with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick gone now, I’m not sure they’ll be getting some new rings in anytime soon.
Just an absolutely wild story through and through… crazy to see a billionaire like Kraft get intimidated by Putin, crazy to see the United States government get involved, crazy that Putin is still walking around with a New England Patriots ring… what a f*cking crazy world we live in.
New details about the time Vladimir Putin stole Robert Kraft's Super Bowl ring in Jeff Benedict's new book, "The Dynasty" pic.twitter.com/yDvZhGAO7N