Feb. 16, 1989

We pause in the ongoing discussion over what the Patriots should do with the third pick in the NFL Draft – picking a sure-fire Tom Brady clone seems to be the favorite – and remind ourselves that the Pats have been in much worse condition than they are now.

In a sign of how out-of-touch Victor Kiam was during his brief run as an NFL owner, the Patriots jacked up ticket prices for the third time since their first trip the Super Bowl in 1986. One of the chair seats at the old Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium would go for $43. The lowest priced seats were in the end zones at $18.

The average ticket price of $28 was fourth highest in the NFL.

In 1988 the Pats went 9-7, with then-general manager Patrick Sullivan chastising fans after the final home game of the season for booing Tony Eason when he was called on to replace Doug Flutie. The attendance on that bitterly cold Sunday afternoon: 39,889.

And as if all of the above didn’t make the team’s future look sufficiently dreary, the team was several million dollars in arrears on their rental agreement with the stadium’s creditors. 

Robert Kraft was in the process of buying the stadium. Soon after that went through, Kraft bought the team from James Orthwein, who bought the team from Kiam and wanted to move it to St. Louis.

Kraft saved the franchise from becoming the St. Louis Stallions.