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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft auctioned off his prized ring from Super Bowl LI for more than $1 million Thursday, with the proceeds to be donated to coronavirus relief efforts.
Dozens of fans sought the diamond-encrusted piece of NFL history, which commemorates the Patriots’ 34-28 come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Houston on Feb. 5, 2017.
“We came back, and we won,” Kraft said when announcing the auction. “And I thought about what’s going on at this time and wanted to give something of extreme value in support of our health-care workers.”
“I thought about what’s going on at this time and wanted to give something of extreme value in support of our health-care workers.”
“It showed how we came back,” he added. “We’re the greatest country in the world with the greatest people who feel a sense of team and work together during the toughest times.”
Offered at a starting bid of $75,000, the 5.1-carat ring ultimately sold for $1.025 million, following 35 total bids over 12 days.
The auction was part of the All-In Challenge, an effort to aid multiple charities fighting food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic, including Feeding America, Meals On Wheels, World Central Kitchen, and No Kid Hungry.
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“More than ever before, families will struggle to provide food as tens of millions are out of work, kids are out of school, many are at risk of losing their income, and our most vulnerable are self-isolating,” the effort’s organizers said on their website.
In addition to Kraft’s ring, the winning bidder will visit the team owner himself, after being flown to New England on Kraft’s private plane.
The piece of jewelry was one of the largest championship rings ever created, featuring 10-karat white gold and 283 diamonds.
“We’re gonna have a good time as I give you this ring, show you around and maybe have a bite or two,” Kraft said when discussing the auction.
The Patriots’ win over Atlanta has been called the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
New England was down 28-3 with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter, before storming back to tie the contest within the final minute of regulation. A two-yard touchdown run by running back James White later gave the Patriots a 34-28 overtime victory.
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The All-In Challenge had raised more than $45.5 million for coronavirus relief as of Thursday night. It was founded by Michael Rubin, a co-owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
Other high-profile items at the auction include a private golf lesson from Tiger Woods, currently at $190,000, and 18 holes of golf with Phil Mickelson, about at $120,000.
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Kraft has won six Super Bowls since purchasing the Patriots in 1994. All of the victories featured quarterback Tom Brady, who recently left the team to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.