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The Legends Football League (LFL) is a women's 7-on-7 tackle American football league, created in 2009. Originally known as the Lingerie Football League, games are played in the fall and winter at NBA, NFL, NHL and MLS arenas and stadiums. The league was founded by Mitch Mortaza.[1] The league's administrative offices are in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Concept

The concept originated from the Super Bowl halftime alternative television special called the Lingerie Bowl, a pay-per-view event broadcast annually opposite the Super Bowl halftime show. The television show has become a staple of Super Bowl Sunday festivities for millions worldwide and is broadcast in over 85 countries.

Playing style

File:Seattle Mist hike.jpg

Players of the Seattle Mist (right, in black helmets) against the San Diego Seduction (in white helmets)

Playing style is full-contact and similar to other indoor football leagues. Uniforms consist of shoulder pads, elbow pads, knee pads, garters, bras, panties, and ice hockey-style helmets with clear plastic visors in lieu of face masks.

There are no field goals and no punts. There is a kickoff to start the game and second half.[2] A team must attempt to get a first down on every fourth down. After a touchdown, a team can attempt a one-point conversion from the one yard line, or a two-point conversion from the three yard line.

There are seven women on each side of the 50-yard field, one fewer than the eight players usually found in arena football or other indoor leagues. Teams consist of 20 players, only 14 of whom are active on game day. This means that there are usually three or four players who play both offense and defense.

The standard offensive formation features 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 1 center, and 3 wide receivers. The standard defensive formation features 2 defensive linewomen, 2 linebackers, 2 cornerbacks, and 1 safety.

The field is 50-yards between end zones, 30 yards wide, and the end zones are 8 yards deep, roughly the same as other indoor leagues.[3]

A game consists of two 17-minute halves, separated by a 12-minute halftime. In the event of a tie, one or more 8-minute sudden-death overtimes are played until a victor is determined.

Prior to the 2013 season, the Lingerie Football League was unique among indoor football leagues in that it played its games during the traditional fall football season rather than the spring.

Each team is loosely patterned after, and uses the same color scheme as, a professional football team in the area. Most of the time, the teams are based on NFL teams, although in cities without NFL teams, UFL (Las Vegas, Orlando), and former NFL (Los Angeles) teams' color schemes have been used. In Canada, the teams are based on either CFL teams (Toronto, Regina) or ice hockey teams (BC, Saskatoon). All but two of the LFL's teams use singular nicknames, a property shared by other women's sports leagues such as the WNBA and WPS.

Media

In 2009–2010, the ten LFL inaugural season teams competed in a 20-week season with games at major arenas and stadia.[4] The weekly games were shot in 1080i high-definition and to broadcast on some MyNetworkTV affiliate stations, international stations, and online streaming.

In 2010–2011, MTV Networks' MTV2 channel licensed the rights to broadcast 20 regular season and two conference playoff highlight programs. LFL Presents: LFL, Friday Night Football on MTV2 is scheduled to premiere on September 10, 2010.

In 2011–12, MTV Networks' MTV2 channel once again broadcast 20 regular season games, two conference playoff games, and the championship game PRIOR to the start of the Super Bowl. This year however, they presented the games in their entirety and broadcast them live at 9:00 PM ET. LFL Presents: LFL, Friday Night Football on MTV2 is premiered on August 26, 2011 from Green Bay, Wisconsin.[5]

In 2011, the Lingerie Football League partnered with Fantazzle Fantasy Sports to present a fantasy football game for the LFL.[6]

Since the 2009–2010 season, the Lingerie Football League has partnered with Five Stone music to compose music for the weekly game highlights, commercials, sound effects, radio shows, and music bed for the games on MTV2 and the international TV stations. The LFL Theme Song was composed by Five Stone in a collaboration with the vocalist Piper from the band Flipsyde.

In 2012, the Lingerie Football League teamed with Japanese based Yuke’s Co. Ltd to design and develop the official LFL gaming platforms.[7]

Teams

LFL United States teams
LFL Canada teams
Defunct teams
Notes
  1. Originally Tampa Breeze, moved from Tampa, Florida after 2011-12 LFL US season.
  2. Joined LFL US for 2011-12 season, moved to LFL Canada for 2012 season.

LFL US

2009–2010

  • Main article: 2009–10 LFL season

The league announced it would play with ten teams in its 2009–2010 season.[8] The league schedule ran from September 4, 2009 to January 29, 2010, with one game each Friday.[4] Teams played one game against each other team in their conference; 2 games were at home and 2 games were on the road. The top two teams in each conference met in playoff games on February 4, 2010, in Miami, and the winners played in Lingerie Bowl VII on February 6, 2010. The Western Conference Los Angeles Temptation defeated the Eastern Conference Chicago Bliss by the score of 27–14.[9]

File:San Diego Seduction huddle.jpg

The San Diego Seduction in a huddle

Most of the teams are coached by former NFL players and coaches already well known in their respective cities. A majority of the players have a background in competitive athletics. Many of the players have experience in other sports at the college and semi-pro level, such as track and field, tennis, volleyball, softball, soccer, basketball, and fitness-style bodybuilding. A few also have experience in tackle football from playing in semi-pro leagues.

2010–2011

  • Main article: 2010–11 LFL season

For the 2010–2011 season the League granted new franchises to both Orlando (Fantasy) and Baltimore (Charm). The New York Majesty and Denver Dream have suspended operations in an effort to find a suitable arena or stadium for each team.

The 2010 LFL All-Fantasy Game was held June 10, 2010 in Monterrey, Mexico, with the Eastern Conference prevailing over the Western Conference 36–14. The All-Fantasy Game's co-MVPs were Philadelphia Passion's Tyrah Lusby and Miami Caliente's Anonka Dixon.

The 2011 Lingerie Bowl was played in Las Vegas, Nevada, at Thomas & Mack Arena on Sunday, February 6, 2011 venue, during halftime of Super Bowl XLV. It was won by Western Conference champions Los Angeles Temptation who defeated Eastern Conference champions Philadelphia Passion 26–25.[10]

2011–2012

For the 2011–2012 season the League granted five new franchises: Cleveland Crush, Green Bay Chill, Las Vegas Sin, Minnesota Valkyrie and Toronto Triumph. Dallas Desire suspended operations for the 2011–2012 season with a planned return in 2012–2013. The stated reasons were financial and issues with the commitment of players on and off the field. The status of the San Diego Seduction is unknown; they are no longer included on the LFL's list of teams and were not included in the 2011–2012 schedule, but no suspension of operations has been publicly indicated, whilst the Miami Caliente folded. The Denver Dream and New York Majesty/Euphoria remain shuttered.

The 2011 All-Fantasy Game was held in Hamilton, Ontario on July 30, 2011 at Copps Coliseum.[11] Trailing 18–6 in the second half, the Eastern Conference rallied to win 24–18 over the Western Conference. Anonka Dixon, quarterback for the Orlando Fantasy, was awarded offensive MVP for her 3 touchdown passes and game-winning rushing touchdown, while Liz Gorman, a safety with the Tampa Breeze, was named defensive MVP.[12]

The season kicked off on August 26, 2011 and culminated with Lingerie Bowl IX on February 4, 2012. The LFL Eastern and Western Conference Playoff games were played back-to-back on January 28, 2012 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California. Los Angeles Temptation won its third straight Western Conference Championship while Philadelphia Passion won the Eastern Conference Championship, its second in a row, to set up a rematch of last season's Lingerie Bowl. The 2012 Lingerie Bowl was played during the pre-match of Super Bowl XLVI at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.[13][14] Los Angeles Temptation won its third consecutive Lingerie Bowl with a 28–6 victory over Philadelphia Passion. The Temptation's Ashley Salerno and Amber Reed were co-MVP's, with Salerno throwing three touchdown passes and Reed scoring two rushing touchdowns.[15]

2012–2013

  • Main article: 2013 LFL US season

In 2012 the league decided to officially move the next LFL United States season to April 2013.[16] The league stated the reasoning behind the postponement of the schedule was to move the league to a spring and summer schedule, mirroring every other indoor American football league of the past decade, as the commissioner felt that there was greater opportunity for success in the spring; the league also stated the hiatus would allow the league offices to focus on the introductory world tours scheduled for late 2012.[17]

For the 2013 season the league has granted two new franchises: Omaha Heart and Atlanta Steam. Toronto Triumph have switched leagues, joining LFL Canada for its inaugural 2012 season, while the Orlando Fantasy officially suspended operations. Before the start of the 2013 season, the Tampa Breeze relocated to Jacksonville, Florida to become the Jacksonville Breeze. The league created new divisions for the 2013 season, splitting the twelve teams into four divisions.

Due to the success of previous games, the LFL expanded its annual one-off all-star game into a three-game series. The 2012 LFL All-Fantasy Tour comprised one game in Mexico and two games in Australia.[18] The Mexico All-Fantasy Game took place on May 5 at the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City with the Western Conference winning 37–7 over the Eastern Conference.[19] The second match of the series took place in Brisbane, Australia on June 2 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre with the Western Conference victorious 45–36.[20] The Western Conference took a 3–0 series sweep with a 31–24 victory in the third and final match in Sydney, Australia on June 9 at Allphones Arena.[21]

On December 15, 2012, the first annual Pacific Cup is scheduled to be played between the Seattle Mist of LFL US and the BC Angels of LFL Canada. Dubbed the 'Border War', the game is scheduled to be hosted by the Mist at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington, with home venues alternating each season.[22]

Opening night for the 2013 LFL US season is scheduled for March 30, 2013, with wildcards games scheduled on August 17, 2013, Conference Championship games on August 24, 2013, and Lingerie Bowl X on August 31, 2013.[23][24]

2013 Teams
Eastern Conference
Northeastern Division Arena and Location
Baltimore Charm 1st Mariner Arena (Baltimore, MD)
Cleveland Crush Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland, OH)
Philadelphia Passion PPL Park (Chester, PA)
Southeastern Division Arena and Location
Atlanta Steam Arena at Gwinnett Center (Duluth, GA)
Omaha Heart Ralston Arena (Omaha, NE)
Jacksonville Breeze Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena (Jacksonville, FL)
Western Conference
Midwestern Division Arena and Location
Chicago Bliss Toyota Park (Bridgeview, IL)
Green Bay Chill Resch Center (Green Bay, WI)
Minnesota Valkyrie Target Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Pacific Division Arena and Location
Las Vegas Sin Orleans Arena (Las Vegas, NV)
Los Angeles Temptation Citizens Business Bank Arena (Ontario, CA)
Seattle Mist ShoWare Center (Kent, WA)

LFL Canada

2012

For the 2011-12 LFL United States season, the All-Fantasy Game was played in Hamilton, Ontario. This was due in part to the league's announcement that in 2012 there would be a Canadian Lingerie Football League. LFL Canada was originally scheduled for a twelve-week season with teams in six markets,[25] with the first regular season game on August 25, 2012, culminating with Lingerie Bowl I Canada on November 17, 2012, one week before the 100th Grey Cup.

On September 28, 2011, it was announced that, in addition to the Toronto Triumph who began play in LFL United States, LFL Canada's other five markets would consist of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, and Montreal; ironically, none of those five markets would actually get an LFL franchise.[26] On February 9, 2012, the LFL announced that Abbotsford, British Columbia, would be the next Canadian city to host a team in the League.[27] The franchise played its home games at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre and competed in the Western Division of LFL Canada. On February 20, 2012, the LFL announced that the franchise would be named the BC Angels following the results of an online fan vote.[28] The decision for Abbotsford to host a team sparked some controversy, including expressed concern from at least one city councilor, as "Abbotsford is a deeply religious agricultural community."[29]

On February 22, 2012, the LFL announced that Regina, Saskatchewan would be the next Canadian city to host a team in the League. Home games would be played at the Brandt Centre.[30] On March 6, the LFL announced that the franchise would be named the Regina Rage after an online fan vote.[31]

Six days later, on February 28, the LFL announced that Saskatoon, Saskatchewan would join Regina as LFL Canada's second team in the Wheat Province. Home games would be played at the Credit Union Centre.[32] Upon releasing the Saskatoon Sirens' logo and colors, the league announced that LFL Canada was set at four teams for the 2012 season, with the league playing an eight-game schedule, scheduled to end with Lingerie Bowl I Canada the week before the Grey Cup.[33]

The 2012 LFL Canada season began on August 25, 2012 and culminated with Lingerie Bowl Canada I on November 17, 2012, between the Saskatoon Sirens and the BC Angels at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre in Abbotsford, British Columbia, The BC Angels won the inaugural championship game 25-12 with BC Angels' quarterback Mary Ann Hanson the game's MVP.[34]

2012 Teams
Team Arena and Location
BC Angels Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre (Abbotsford, BC)
Regina Rage Brandt Centre (Regina, SK)
Saskatoon Sirens Credit Union Centre (Saskatoon, SK)
Toronto Triumph Hershey Centre (Mississauga, ON)

Future expansion

The LFL announced plans to launch leagues in Australia (2013) and Europe (2014). In 2014, the league plans to have the champions of each of the four leagues compete in an inaugural LFL World Bowl in Sao Paulo, Brazil.[35]

LFL United States

Since the inception of LFL United States, LFL Chairman and Commissioner Mitchell S. Mortaza has considered expanding the league to cities and areas including Boston, Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Fresno, Houston, Kansas City, Nashville, New Jersey, New Orleans, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Antonio, San Jose, Washington, D.C., and/or a revival of the New York Majesty in Brooklyn.[36][37][38]

LFL Canada

Following the success of LFL Canada's inaugural season, the league has announced plans to expand to at least two more cities for the following season.[39] It is expected that a national TV broadcast partner will air games for the 2013 season. League chairman Mitchell S. Mortaza has suggested that despite higher than expected attendance and hosting the first LFL Canada Lingerie Bowl, the league's future in Abbotsford, British Columbia is yet to be determined. [40]

LFL Australia

LFL Australia is scheduled to premiere in December 2013 after Australia hosted the 2012 LFL All-Fantasy Game Tour.[41] Two exhibition games between the Eastern and Western Conferences took place on Australia's east coast in Brisbane and Sydney. Queensland native and wide receiver for the Los Angeles Temptation Chloe Butler served as the ambassador of LFL Football coming to Australia and captained the Western Conference squad. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth have been designated as the four inaugural season market teams, with tryouts for each team scheduled to take place in 2012.

On 26 July 2012, the first LFL Australia team was unveiled as the New South Wales Surge to be based in Sydney.[42] On 8 August 2012, the Queensland Brigade were announced as the next franchise to be based in Brisbane.[43] On 24 October 2012, LFL Australia announced that the cities of Perth and Melbourne are scheduled to hold tryouts in anticipation of developing teams in Western Australia and Victoria.[44]

Ladies Gridiron League

In anticipation of LFL Australia, the LFL established an official minor league to be known as Ladies Gridiron League (LGL). The league is based out of Sydney, Australia. The Ladies Gridiron League was modeled off the success of the LFL and attempts to bring awareness of American football to Australian culture. More minor leagues associations across Canada and the United States are expected to be created over the coming year.[45]

LFL Europe

In 2014, LFL Europe is set to debut with teams in Barcelona, Frankfurt, Rhein, Manchester and Dublin.[35]

Reception

The league has met with criticism. Critics say the league degrades female athletes through "pernicious objectification".[46] Potential players have responded more positively, with one quoted as saying "I just appreciate playing football, I don’t care what they put me in." and another favoring the limited clothing, saying "It’s more comfortable this way."[47] LFL players with experience in track and field competitions have noted that the typical LFL uniform is not that much more revealing than typical track uniforms.[48] Adrian Purnell of the Tampa Breeze said that the outfits are only for marketing purposes.[49]

Other players are quoted as viewing the uniforms as a necessary evil, with one saying "Maybe one day, girls won't have to wear lingerie to get people interested [in women's football]." [50] Liz Gorman, a player with the Tampa Breeze, stated she'd rather wear a conventional uniform: "I mean, I don't like it. You'd rather wear full clothing. I have a bunch of scrapes on me." She also indicated a belief that the league is likely to change to conventional uniforms in the future: "You look back at basketball, you used to have to wear skirts. Obviously it's changed, they have the WNBA now. So if you look back, women's sports has constantly evolved and I think that this sports league is going to end up changing the uniform."[51]

The league has been accused of fining players for wearing too many clothes, and for not paying medical bills for injured players.[52] The league prohibits players from commenting on personnel matters, a rule that prompted the vast majority of the Toronto Triumph, including team captain Krista Ford, to quit in protest in October 2011.[53] Originally a professional league with players receiving a cut of net revenue, Mortaza stopped paying his players beginning in the 2011 season and converted the league into an amateur organization; players must also pay for their own health insurance.[54] League founder Mortaza has admitted that the league is marketed toward "mostly beer-drinking college students aged 21 and up."[55]

References

  1. Mooney, Michael J.. "Lingerie Football League Founder Mitch Mortaza Got His Showbiz Start on TV's Blind Date", Broward-Palm Beach New Times, March 11, 2010. Retrieved on September 9, 2010. 
  2. Lingerie football.
  3. Lingerie football coming to Charlotte in 2010. News 14 Carolina (2009-05-04). Retrieved on 2009-05-05.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hamnik, Al. "Wiping that LFL smirk off smug faces", The Northwest Indiana Times, February 2, 2010. Retrieved on February 23, 2010. 
  5. lfl360.com. Lingerie Football League Returns to the Gridiron Live This Fall on MTV2. Retrieved on 2011-03-26.
  6. "Fantazzle and LFL Ready for ‘Opening Night’ Game, Friday, August 26th." Fantazzle Blog. Fantazzle Fantasy Sports, 24 Aug. 2011. Web. 6 Jan. 2012. <http://www.fantazzleblog.com/2011/08/fantazzle-and-lfl-ready-for-%E2%80%98opening-night%E2%80%99-game-friday-august-26th/>.
  7. Jim Wallin. Lingerie Football League Teams with Top Video Game Developer Yuke's. Retrieved on 2012-06-18.
  8. Morelli, Keith. "Lingerie Football League Has Tryouts For Tampa Team", The Tampa Tribune, April 24, 2008. Retrieved on October 25, 2010. 
  9. Perlas, Eddie. "Chicago Bliss Fall in Lingerie Bowl", NBC Chicago, February 8, 2010. Retrieved on February 23, 2010. 
  10. Temptation take two: Los Angeles defeats Philadelphia 26–25 in Lingerie Bowl VIII.
  11. lfl360.com. Lingerie Football League's All-Stars head north of the border. Retrieved on 2011-07-01.
  12. BeeZee. 2011 LFL All-Fantasy Game Recap. Retrieved on 2011-08-01.
  13. LFL 2011 Schedule.
  14. Lingerie Bowl IX Host Arena Hotel Announced.
  15. Jackpot! L.A. Temptation Wins Third Straight Lingerie Bowl Title
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  17. Chase, Chris. Lingerie Football League goes on hiatus. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  18. LFL All-Fantasy Game Announced for Cinco de Mayo in Mexico City
  19. Mexico City | West Demolishes East for First All-Fantasy Game Win
  20. Lingerie Football League All-Stars shine in Brisbane
  21. Sydney | West Escapes Late East Rally for Exhilarating Win
  22. LFL Announces First-Ever Border War with 2012 Pacific Cup
  23. LFLUS 2013 Division Structure and Post-Season Schedule Released
  24. LFL 2013 Schedule
  25. Lingerie Football League announces 2011 expansion into Toronto.
  26. Jim Wallin. LFL Awards 2012 Canadian Market Rights to Five Cities. Retrieved on 2011-09-28.
  27. LFL Football Ready to Lace 'Em Up in Vancouver/Abbotsford. Retrieved on 2012-02-12.
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  32. Breaking: LFL Canada – Saskatoon Awarded Franchise for 2012 Season. LFL360.com. Lingerie Football League (February 28, 2012). Retrieved on February 28, 2012.
  33. Lfl Canada | Toronto Triumph Part Ways With Coaching Staff. LFL360 (2012-02-29). Retrieved on 2012-09-09.
  34. {[cite web|url=http://www.theprovince.com/sports/football/bc-lions/Angels+defeat+Saskatoon+Sirens+first+Lingerie/7565973/story.html%7Caccessdate=2012-11-20))
  35. 35.0 35.1 Mitchell S. Mortaza. LFL Announces plans to premier leagues in Europe, Canada and Australia alongside US league. Retrieved on 2011-07-11.
  36. Mitchell S. Mortaza. State of the League Address. Retrieved on 2010-12-15.
  37. Dan Krieger. Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report. Retrieved on 2011-12-15.
  38. My LFL. Top 6 LFL Expansion Markets for 2012. Retrieved on 2011-12-15.
  39. Mike Hellinger. Lingerie Football League surprisingly successful in Abbotsford. Retrieved on 2012-11-21.
  40. Staff Writers. Angels upset Sirens to win inaugural Lingerie Bowl. Retrieved on 2012-11-21.
  41. Jim Wallin. LFL To Go 'Down Under' — Australia Selected As Hosts for 2012 All-Fantasy Game Tour. Retrieved on 2012-03-07.
  42. LFL Australia Brands Its First Franchise As the New South Wales Surge. Retrieved on 2012-09-09.
  43. The LFL Australia Announces 2nd Franchise
  44. LFL360.com. LFL Australia Announces Perth and Melbourne Tryouts. Retrieved on 2012-10-26.
  45. Lfl further strengthens its international presence and names first-ever minor league partnership. Retrieved on 2012-09-09.
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  54. Li, Anita. "Toronto News: Lingerie football: Touchdown or fumble?", The Toronto Star, October 28, 2011. Retrieved on October 30, 2011. 
  55. Shepherd, Lindy T.. "Balls out: Lingerie Football League brings guts and garters to Orlando", Orlando Weekly, August 19, 2010. Retrieved on October 25, 2010. 
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