With spot in WFA title game on the line, Boston preparing for unbeaten Pittsburgh

For the last handful of years, the Renegades hosting the WFA National conference championship has been a formality, much like the Patriots participating in the AFC title game was from 2011-2018.

This year is different though.

Thanks to a regular season loss to the 7-0 Pittsburgh passion a few weeks ago – just the franchise’s second loss since 2018 – Boston (5-2) is on the road Saturday night when the Passion try to end the Renegades’ quest for a sixth straight WFA Pro National Championship in the National Conference title game.

Boston is now the team with nothing to lose, playing as a road underdog in the playoffs for the first time in a long time.

“There’s always less pressure on the road because there’s just the 60 people that show up with us and our fans. I’m happy to go on the road and play,” said offensive coordinator Vernon Crawford prior to practice on Tuesday night. “It’s a different energy, but at the same time, we’ve just got to make sure we come to play and be strong within our own little community of being a Boston Renegade.

“We’re still the champs. Everybody still knows that it goes through us. I think they’re going to bring their best and we’ve just got to be ready and be prepared to go out and do what we need to do.”

The previous meeting was a 26-21 affair that saw a late Boston comeback bid come up just short. Obviously, in a win-or-go home scenario not much matters aside from what happens on Saturday, but were there any lessons the Renegades could take from that game against the black and gold?

“We leaned a lot of great lessons,” said Crawford. Pitt’s a great team first of all. That’s the first time we played a good team this year besides St. Louis, so we’ve just got to do what we normally do…stay on blocks longer, focus on the little details, tackling. No big plays. Stuff we normally do the Renegades way.”

While Boston has become the model franchise in the WFA and won five straight championships, Pittsburgh has a pretty rich history itself. Formed in 2002, Pittsburgh has won three championships, one (2007) when the league was the NWFA and back-to-back in 2014 and 2015 during the IWFL days.

There’s really no denying that these two franchises are the most storied in professional women’s football, with legitimate fan bases and top tier talent on a regular basis, very much like the Steelers and Patriots.

Now, can Pittsburgh reclaim its place (at least for a season) as the team to beat, or can the Renegades earn another return trip to The Pro Football Hall of Fame and the championship game set for July 27th live on ESPN 2?

“Basically, I’ve been in this league a while. When we first started…just seeing the way the (Pittsburgh) organization was run, it kind of gave us a heads up of what it should ideally look like,” Crawford added. “Not to say we wanted to be them, because being the best, you always set your own standard.

“But, it kind of showed us a blue print of what we needed to do.”

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