New England may have the NFL’s most successful team of the past decade, but if professional football’s return to Boston demonstrated anything Friday night, there is a long way for it to go inside the city limits.
In the first professional football game at Harvard Stadium since 1970, the Boston Brawlers—a new Fall Experimental Football League (FXFL) franchise—emerged victorious, 28-10, over the visiting Blacktips in front of a reported crowd of 3,265. The actual attendance did not appear to come close to that figure.
The FXFL, which debuted earlier in October, aims to become a feeder system for the National Football League. Unlike its companion leagues, the NFL has historically had no minor league akin to the NBA’s D-League or baseball’s affiliate system, leaving a tight bottleneck for players exiting the college ranks and looking for professional employment.
The most illustrious name to fall through the cracks Friday was Brawlers quarterback Tajh Boyd. The former Clemson star, who won the Orange Bowl nine months ago, played less than a quarter in the first half, throwing a 54-yard back shoulder fade to Jasper Collins for the team’s only touchdown of the half. Boyd added three more touchdowns in the second half, with former Florida running back Emmanuel Moody contributing 225 total yards, to break the game wide open.
Boyd was the highlight of a game that was otherwise sloppy, with numerous dropped balls and holding penalties delaying play throughout the first half. Blacktip quarterback Joe Clancy had perhaps the most difficult night of all, completing only 12 of 31 passes for 114 yards, with one touchdown, one interception, and nine dropped balls.
Boston moved to 1-2 with the victory, while the Blacktips fell to 0-2. The Brawlers will conclude its home season the following week against Brooklyn on October 31. The Blacktips are currently a traveling team with no home games scheduled.
--Matt Clarida contributed to the reporting of this story.