The Pats become the first NFL team to support the annual flag football tournament
Image via NGFFL
Since 2002, the best teams in the National Gay Flag Football League have gathered from around the country to crown a Gay Bowl champion. For the first time ever, they’ll have an NFL team supporting them while they do it.
The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will become the first NFL team to sponsor the annual event. The Pats and their owner Bob Kraft have long been supporters of LGBTQ rights, going so far as to sign an amicus brief a few years ago that was filed in support of gay marriage in the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which ruled same-sex marriage is a fundamental right. Pats players, including wide receiver Julian Edelman, also showed support for marriage equality in the wake of that Supreme Court decision.
The NGFFL began in 2002 as a way to promote inclusion in sports and to spread a positive social message about the LGBTQ community. The very first Gay Bowl was held in April of that year in Los Angeles, with the LA Motion crushing the San Francisco 69ers by a score of 64-12. The tournament, which is now played every year on Columbus Day weekend, has now grown to nearly 40 North American teams and also features a women’s division.
But, even as the tournament has expanded, a couple teams have taken control of the competition. The San Diego Bolts have claimed the open division title five straight years, while a team from Denver has won every women’s championship.
Boston will host this year’s Gay Bowl, so maybe we’ll see some Patriots execs in attendance to show their support for the league and the event.