Monday, February 02, 2015
There are no Patriots without a BC guy
Before the dynasty and before they became the model NFL franchise, the Patriots were Billy Sullivan's baby. Sullivan was a character in every sense of the word and if the hadn't put together an ownership group for an AFL team, there would be no professional football in the Boston area today.
Sulivan graduated from BC in 1937 and then went on to a series of jobs that sound more like adventures. He worked PR for BC, Notre Dame and the Braves. He started the Jimmy Fund and had a variety of entrepreneurial projects. Unlike many of the other NFL owners, Sullivan wasn't rich, so there was always a robbing Peter to pay Paul aspect to the Pats. He moved the team around Boston until the stadium was built in Foxboro. He sued his partners in the '70s, lost a fortune on a Michael Jackson tour in the '80s and eventually sold the team and then won a suit against NFL in the '90s for the limitations they put on him during the sale.
If Sullivan hadn't lost his shirt, I don't know if he and his children ever would have built what Kraft did. But without Sullivan getting his taste of the business side of football at the Heights, there is no trophy case in Foxboro now.