FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced that he is waiving the standard four-year waiting period for team Hall of Famers and inducting Tom Brady, who was in attendance to be honored at Sunday’s season-opening game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Kraft said a special ceremony will take place Wednesday, June 12, 2024, inside Gillette Stadium — the first of its kind for the franchise. The date has notable significance, 6/12, reflecting the number of Super Bowls that Brady won as a Patriot and his jersey number.
“One thing I am sure of, and that will never change, is that I am a Patriot for life,” Brady said in a halftime speech as he wore his old Patriots No. 12 jersey.
The crowd of 65,000-plus began chanting, “Brady! Brady! Brady!”
Brady was introduced by Kraft, who said a halftime ceremony wasn’t enough time to honor Brady.
Those eligible for the Patriots Hall of Fame have to be retired for at least four years, per the rules set forth by the team to ensure that an inductee doesn’t suddenly become an active player. Each NFL franchise has its own rules on what makes a team a player eligible for a team Hall of Fame.
The Patriots have held an annual team Hall of Fame ceremony every year since 2007, and there are 34 inductees currently in the team’s Hall. A committee comprised of media members, team employees and former players and coaches annually nominates deserving individuals for consideration, and three finalists are voted upon. Those three finalists are then put up for a fan vote, with one selected.
There are times, however, when Kraft makes an exception.
The Patriots lost Sunday’s game, 25-20.