The Ottawa Renegades

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Who were the Ottawa Renegades?

The Ottawa Renegades were a Canadian football team which played in the CFL between 2002 and 2006. The team, based in Ottawa was the first NFL franchise in the city since the folding of the Ottawa Rough Riders seven years before. After folding in 2008 it would then be revived in 2014 as the Ottawa Redblacks which is still in operation to date. The team wore a Black Red and white uniform.

How did the Ottawa Renegades Start up?

After the Ottawa Rough Riders folded in 1996, the city was keen to bring in a replacement franchise and constantly lobbied the league to award them a new franchise. The team was placed in the East Division along with the Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger Cats and Montreal Alouettes.

The Ottawa Renegades in Competition

The Renegades opened their account in competition with a 30-27 overtime defeat to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on June 28, 2002. They had to wait till their third game for their first win, beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 25-24 at home. However the Bombers were quick to draw their revenge as they thrashed the Renegades 55-7 in the very next game.

After a 38-37 win over the Hamilton Tigers-Cats, the reality of just how hard life in the CFL was going to be was hammered in as they lost the next six games in a row. They then managed just two wins in the final seven games of the season, taking them to a lowly 4-14 season record that saw them lie at the bottom of the pile.

During the 2003, the renegades improved marginally thanks largely to their impressive record at home. All but one of their seven wins that season came at home but were hapless away from home, losing all but one game. Their 7-11 season record saw them escape bottom place in their division but it was not good enough for a place in the playoffs.

They started the 2004 season impressively, winning the first three games, but familiar problems resurfaced and they lost the next three. They then managed just two wins out of the final 13 games of the season to finish the season with a 5-13 record. They had another unimpressive display during the 2005 season as they finished with a 7-11 record which placed them in third and outside the playoff places. Their last ever game was a 27-17 home win over the Toronto Argonauts on November 5. They would never take to the field ever again, as they folded after that game.

Ottawa Renegades Most Notable Moments

Special moments for the Renegades were few and far between. However one that will definitely be in the minds of Renegades fans for a long time was a 39-36 comeback victory over the Montreal Alouettes. Coming into the game, the Renegades had just lost 41-16 in a demoralizing encounter with the Edmonton Eskimos and few fancied their chances of winning.

Montreal opened up a 33-10 lead by the start of the fourth quarter. However the Renegades, led by Kerry Joseph instigated an unlikely and spirited comeback that saw them tie the game and headed into overtime. Frank Clair Stadium blew its roof when the Renegades went into the lead for the first time and saw out a 39-36 win.

Ottawa Renegades Most Notable Players

Kerry Joseph QB 2003-2005

Lawrence Tynes PK 2002-2003

Matt Kellett K 2003-2004

Dan Crowley QB 2002-2003

Darren Davis RB 2002-2003

Llewellyn “Yo” Murphy 2003-2005

Josh Ranek RB 2002-2005

Jason Armstead KR 2004-2005

Pat Woodcock WR 2004-2005

What Happened to the Ottawa Renegades?

Throughout the Renegades’ life they had maintained a loyal following, with attendance constantly topping out the 20,000 mark. However front office mismanagement saw the team constantly lose money. In 2005 the franchise lost $3.8 million and was expected to lose between $2.3 million and $5.8 million in 2006.

The management requested financial help from the league but this was not forthcoming and Glieberman, keen to let go of the team decided to stop funding. The league declined to take over the franchise as they had done with the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats a few years before. After failing to find new owners for the Renegades the CFL decided to end the franchise and a dispersal draft was held to place the Renegades players into the remaining 8 teams.

Over the next years, the CFL held negotiations with various investor groups hoping to start a new franchise to replace the Renegades. In 2008, a franchise for Ottawa was awarded to Jeff Hunt, who also owned the Ottawa 67s. The new team would be named the Ottawa Redblacks and began playing in 2014.