BOSTON (CBS) — When the NFL ended its lockout of referees this week, ushering the end of the replacement ref era, it was not immediately clear how and why exactly the league and referee union were able to settle their differences. A couple of days later, we’re getting some clarity… Former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe was a guest on Gresh & Zo on Friday afternoon, and he said that Patriots owner Robert Kraft was involved before last weekend’s slate of games began. “I talked with Robert Kraft last week and he had been disengaged from this whole thing,” Bledsoe said. “He got involved about, I want to say, seven or eight days ago, and all of a sudden things are solved. The guy seems to have a magical touch for bringing people together and ending these things as he did with the players [in 2011] and now with the referees.” Bledsoe’s comments coincide with a New York Times report… “A number of owners, including, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations, the Panthers’ Jerry Richardson and the Jets’ Woody Johnson, initially dug in on Tuesday, reluctant to make any deal under such public pressure,” Judy Battista reported. “Others, including the Patriots’ Robert Kraft and the Giants’ John Mara, were concerned that damage was being done to the league by the subpar officiating and the focus on it.” Battista also reported that Goodell relied on Kraft and Mara to help “ unite the other owners” on certain negotiating points with the referees.
Is there nothing Mr. Kraft cannot do? Businessman. Entrepreneur. Visionary. Philanthropist. Chick magnet. And quite probably the best peace negotiator in the world. Seriously, it’s been proven time and time again that when it comes to brokering settlements between warring factions, , building coalitions and finding consensus, there is no one better. I mean, this sews up the Nobel Peace Prize for him, right? Let those losers who own the Panthers and the Jets dig their heels in and force those joke refs down our throats and risk turning pro football into a joke. The NFLE. Mr. Kraft is the one who steps in, finds common ground and delivers Peace in Our Time. I wouldn’t be surprised if he uses the bye week to fly to Tehran and gets the Iranians to turn their nuclear program into free microwaves for poor people or something. I know this, Achmandinnerjacket there ought to go along if he knows what’s good for him. Because Mr. Kraft is all for settling things peacefully, but he’s proven he’s not afraid to mix it up when negotiations break down either: