Patriots president on Tom Brady's sickness
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be on the field this weekend for the big game, said the team's president, Jonathan Kraft, looking to reassure fans concerned about the illness that kept him from practicing on Wednesday.
Brady and the Patriots will be playing Peyton Manning and the Broncos in Denver for the AFC championship on Sunday.
"When you watch Tom and Peyton, it's not the two best [quarterbacks] of this time, it's the two best of all time," Kraft told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday.
Using a business metaphor, he said, "Tom and Peyton are both exceptional managers. They're managing a business. It's like managing a quarter in 60 minutes, or three hours out on that football field. All the variables they have to deal with, the personality issues. It is just like managing a company over a quarter."
Seats for the Brady-Manning showdown are the most expensive for an AFC championship in four years. The average price on the secondary market for a ticket is $779.
"These guys at 36 [Brady] and 37 years old [Manning], it's just amazing to watch," Kraft said, while pointing out that Brady has prevailed 10 out of the 14 times he's faced Manning.
Kraft added he's not worried about playing at Denver's Mile High Stadium, saying the Broncos deserved their home-field advantage.
The winner of the Patriots-Broncos game will be playing in the Super Bowl against either the San Francisco 49ers or the Seahawks—who play the later game on Sunday for the NFC championship in Seattle.
Weather is not expected to be an issue for either game. The high temperature in Denver will be 59 degrees, with light winds and no rain, according to The Weather Channel. In Seattle, the high will be 50 degrees, with light winds and a 20 percent chance of rain.
Super Bowl XLVIII is still a couple weeks out, but organizers have been concerned that extreme cold or snow could put a damper on that game, which will be held on Sunday, Feb. 2, outdoors at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., home to the New York Giants and New York Jets, neither of whom even made the playoffs. The Super Bowl has never been played outside in the cold weather.
Clinching a spot in the Super Bowl would be a great way for the Kraft family to celebrate their 20th anniversary of owning the team, which they bought for $172 million in 1994. According to Forbes magazine, the net worth of the Patriots is more than $1.8 billion, the second-most valued in the NFL.
Had Sunday's game been a home game for the Patriots, it would have been a big boon for the retail complex next to Gillette Stadium, which saw strong holiday sales.
"Our traffic counts from Thanksgiving through Christmas, even with the shortened shopping period, was up almost 7 percent," Kraft said. "And virtually every retailer and dining establishment on property was between like 2 percent and 10 percent. It was a good period for us."