The Boston Renegades could do what no professional team in Boston has been able to do since the 1960s Boston Celtics. And the New England Patriots are helping them get in the position — literally — to do it.
The Renegades are going for their third consecutive Women's Football Alliance (WFA) title on Saturday at 6 p.m. against the Minnesota Vixen. And they'll do it in travel style.
Patriots team owner Bob Kraft offered to fly the team out to the title game on his team's charter plane and sent them on their way this week. The game is at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
"We'd like the privilege of flying you on our patriots team plane. Since that's how we won our six [championships], we'd like to take you there," Kraft told Renegades team owner Molly Goodwin and receiver Adrienne Smith on a surprise Zoom call.
Bob Kraft surprises Renegades with plane offer
Goodwin and Smith were on a Zoom call with a Kraft Sports + Entertainment editor to talk about the team's quest for its third straight championship. Boston has won six in total.
“Basically, [the editor] says, ‘Hold on a second,’ and her Zoom blacks out and up pops Bob Kraft," Goodwin said, via GBH News in Boston.
It's a special moment for any team to receive such an offer from a professional sports entity, but it's particularly impactful for a team in the WFA. The Renegades players pay to play for the team, as has been standard for female football players over the years, and that can add up to more than $1,000. Players had to book their own flights to get to Ohio.
The team is also hurting financially this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They were unable to play games in 2020 and therefore didn't have revenue from season tickets or merchandise.
The Patriots involvement didn't stop at supplying a plane. On Thursday, two days before the championship game, Kraft and Patriots personnel hosted the team at Gillette Stadium.
Kraft spoke to the team as a collective and individually in the video the Patriots social team shared. The signage around the stadium had the Renegades logo and "good luck."
“I mean the plane’s cool and all that’s great, but the fact that they actually held a meeting with Bob Kraft and their staff about our team, I can’t put into words how long we’ve hoped that that would happen," Goodwin told GBH News. "But I think it speak volumes about our organization that the Patriots like the product that they see, on the field, off the field. And our hard work of trying to do that season after season is starting to pay off.”
WFA championship game: Renegades vs. Vixen
The powerhouse Renegades are seeking to become one of the city's great dynasties. They come into the title game off a 63-3 blowout against the Tampa Bay Inferno (7-1) following a bye in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. It's their fourth consecutive season in the WFA Division I National Conference Championship game after losing it in 2017.
As with most people, they came into 2021 in flux. There was no certainty they would be able to take the field, but eventually they played five regular season games, half of a standard season. The Renegades won every outing and dominating is putting it lightly: 62-0, 56-6, 62-0, 70-0, 41-3.
The Minnesota Vixen are believed to be the longest continually operating women's football team in the country dating back to their founding in 1999, per the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. They're also undefeated in 2021 at 8-0 and have outscored opponents, 341-62. They had a tighter go in their playoffs with a 24-14 win against the Arlington Impact (4-3) and 33-22 against the Cali War (7-2).
It would be the team's first WFA championship after joining the league in 2017. They reached the 2018 Division II title game and played in other leagues previous to the move, but never won a championship.
Vixen team owner Laura Brown told ESPN the NFL's Minnesota Vikings and WNBA's Minnesota Lynx have reached out recently. The Lynx have "been supporting us the last couple of years," she said.
The game is available on FTF: For The Fans and Next Level Sports on certain apps and streaming services.
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