The New England Patriots are, like three other NFL teams, two wins away from a Super Bowl, and what would be their fifth in 16 years.
However, for Patriots owner Robert Kraft, winning another championship would only bring his Super Bowl ring collection to four, thanks to one of the strangest mishaps in NFL history.
In 2005, Kraft was on a business trip to Russia and visited Vladimir Putin with his associates. Kraft, carrying his 2004 Super Bowl ring, showed it to Putin, who apparently tried it on, then took it without giving it back.
From the sounds of it, Kraft still hasn’t gotten his original ring back. In a video the NFL released on Thursday, Kraft relayed the story, saying:
“[The Super Bowl rings] are all in a drawer except for my third one. The original is in Russia with the president of the country. I happened to be there on a business mission with my friend Sandy Weill. We had just given out our rings. I showed Sandy my ring, and he said, ‘Why don’t you show it to the President?’ And I showed it to him and he put it on, and he sort of just enjoyed it, so he kept it on.”
However, Kraft’s story reportedly changed over the years. According to a New York Post report from 2013, Kraft told the crowd at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala, “I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin], and he put it on and he goes, ‘I can kill someone with this ring.’ I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”
Kraft said then-President Bush asked him, for the sake of US-Russian relations, to say he gave the ring to Putin as a gift. Later, Putin denied stealing the ring or having any memory of meeting Kraft, but said he would have a replacement ring made for Kraft.
A decade later, it appears Kraft never got his ring back, nor did he get a replacement from Putin. If the Patriots win another this year, it seems safe to assume
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