Written by Alexandra Francisco
The Boston Renegades had quite the lift to Canton, Ohio last month, flying out in pursuit of the Women's Football Alliance title on the New England Patriots team plane.
After capping off a second-straight undefeated season with a fourth-consecutive championship, it was only right that they get to line it up with New England's Lombardis and celebrate.
Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft invited members of the Renegades for a bit of a soiree in the trophy room Thursday ahead of New England's preseason game against the New York Giants. Then, the women's football team was recognized on the field in front of fans for their incredible accomplishments.
"They beat us, we only did three out of four," Kraft said, referring to the earlier years of the Patriots dynasty where the team took home Super Bowls in 2001, 2003, and 2004. "They had four (in a row)."
In the time leading up to kickoff and the on-field ceremony, the Renegades enjoyed food and drinks in the trophy room, posed with Kraft for a team photo, and met Hall of Famer Andre Tippett.
Kraft thanked the women for all the sometimes thankless work they do to move women's football forward, and shared how proud he feels to be in their corner.
"We were honored to support you," Kraft said. "I've found in life that people do amazing things that aren't really recognized or appreciated for the hard work and sacrifice. The fact that we could support you in a unique way, and have you all here together -- we need more of that in this country. Sport is one of the few things that build community and bring people together. You did that so well for women not only throughout America, but here in New England, so we wanted to do something to make you all feel special."
The Renegades also had a token of thanks for Kraft.
Team owner Molly Goodwin presented Kraft with a Renegades helmet signed by the entire team, as well as a group photo of them posed in front of the Patriots team plane.
"Although we are a professional organization on our own," Goodwin said while giving Kraft the gifts, "You are helping to move the needle for us in a way that we couldn't do on our own."