Legends Football League
|Current season, competition or edition:
2013–14 LFL Australia season
|No. of teams||10 (LFL United States)
4 (LFL Canada)
4 (LFL Australia)
|Most recent champion(s)||Chicago Bliss (LFL US)
BC Angels (LFL Canada)
New South Wales Surge (LFL Australia)
|Most titles||Los Angeles Temptation (3)|
|TV partner(s)||7mate (Australia)|
The Legends Football League (LFL) is a women's 7-on-7 tackle American football league, with games played in the spring and summer at NBA, NFL, NHL and MLS arenas and stadiums. The league was founded in 2009 as the Lingerie Football League and was rebranded as the Legends Football League in 2013. The league's founder and chairman is Mitchell S. Mortaza, and the league's administrative offices are located in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- 1 Background
- 2 Rules
- 3 Global leagues
- 4 LFL US
- 5 LFL Canada
- 6 LFL Australia
- 7 Media
- 8 Reception
- 9 Uniforms
- 10 Safety
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The concept of the LFL originated from an alternative Super Bowl halftime television special called the Lingerie Bowl, a pay-per-view event broadcast opposite the Super Bowl halftime show. The first three Lingerie Bowls were held annually from 2004-2006 and were billed as Lingerie Bowls I, II, and III. From 2007-2009, the next three planned Lingerie Bowls (billed as Lingerie Bowls IV, V, and VI) were all cancelled for various reasons. In 2009, LFL chairman Mitch Mortaza expanded the concept from a single annual exhibition game to a ten-team lingerie football league.
Most LFL teams in the United States use the same color scheme as a professional men's football team in the area; most LFL US teams base their color scheme on local 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' colors 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.
Many of the teams are coached by former NFL players and coaches who already well known in their respective cities. Many of the players have a background in competitive athletics at the college and semi-pro level, in sports 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 other semi-pro leagues.
On January 10, 2013, the Lingerie Football League announced it would change its name to the Legends Football League (while still retaining the LFL moniker). The league announced that the athletes would wear "performance apparel" instead of lingerie, but the uniforms look very much the same as before. In addition to the new uniforms, redesigned shoulder pads were introduced to provide more protection for players. Other league changes included eliminating images of sexy women from team logos and changing the league tagline from "True Fantasy Football" to "Women of the Gridiron".
Playing style is full-contact and similar to other indoor football leagues. Uniforms consist of shoulder pads, elbow pads, knee pads, performance wear, and ice hockey-style helmets with clear plastic visors in lieu of face masks. Prior to the 2013 season, players wore garters, bras, and panties.
There are no field goals and no punts. There is a kickoff to start the game and second half. Kicking off after every scoring drive was added before the 2013 Pacific Cup, but was removed shortly after the first game of the LFL Australia season. 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.
A game consists of four eight-minute quarters and a 15-minute halftime. In the event of a tie, one or more eight-minute sudden-death overtimes are played until a victor is determined.
The LFL began in the United States, but in 2012, the LFL launched a companion league in Canada. The LFL also kicked off an LFL league in Australia in December 2013.
The LFL plans to launch a fourth global league - LFL Europa - in 2014. LFL Europa would include teams in Dublin (Ireland), Manchester (United Kingdom), Düsseldorf and Hamburg (Germany). Barcelona (Spain) and Frankfurt (Germany) had previously been mentioned as potential franchise cities.
The LFL also hopes to launch a Latin American league in the near future which would include six franchises throughout Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, but this league has no expected start date as of yet.
- Current LFL United States teams
|Northeastern Division||Baltimore Charm||1st Mariner Arena||Baltimore, Maryland||2010-11|
|Toledo Crush||Huntington Center||Toledo, Ohio||2011-12|
|Southeastern Division||Atlanta Steam||Arena at Gwinnett Center||Duluth, Georgia||2013|
|Omaha Heart||Ralston Arena||Omaha, Nebraska||2013|
|Jacksonville Breeze||Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena||Jacksonville, Florida||2009-10|
|Midwestern Division||Chicago Bliss||Sears Centre||Hoffman Estates, Illinois||2009-10|
|Green Bay Chill||U.S. Cellular Arena||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||2011-12|
|Pacific Division||Las Vegas Sin||Orleans Arena||Las Vegas, Nevada||2011-12|
|Los Angeles Temptation||Citizens Business Bank Arena||Ontario, California||2009-10|
|Seattle Mist||ShoWare Center||Kent, Washington||2009-10|
- Defunct and planned future LFL United States teams
|Dallas Desire||Cotton Bowl||Dallas, Texas||2009-10||2010-11|
|Denver Dream||Dick's Sporting Goods Park||Commerce City, Colorado||2009-10||2009-10|
|Miami Caliente||FIU Stadium||Miami, Florida||2009-10||2010-11|
|Minnesota Valkyrie||Target Center||Minneapolis, Minnesota||2011-12||2014|
|New York Majesty||Sovereign Center||Reading, Pennsylvania||2009-10||2009-10|
|Orlando Fantasy||UCF Arena||Orlando, Florida||2010-11||2011-12|
|Philadelphia Passion||PPL Park||Chester, Pennsylvania||2009-10||2014|
|San Diego Seduction||San Diego Sports Arena||San Diego, California||2009-10||2010-11|
|Planned Expansion Franchises|
|Planned Pittsburgh LFL Franchise||Highmark Stadium||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||2014|
|Denver Dream||1stBank Center||Broomfield, Colorado||2014|
Ten teams played in the inaugural 2009–2010 LFL season. The league schedule ran from September 4, 2009, to January 29, 2010, with one game each Friday. Teams played one game each against the other four teams in their conference. The top two teams in each conference advanced to the conference championship games held on February 4, 2010, in Miami, and the conference champions 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.
The LFL held its first "All-Fantasy Game" on June 10, 2010, in Monterrey, Mexico. The Eastern Conference defeated 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 All-Fantasy Game was held in Hamilton, Ontario on July 30, 2011, at Copps Coliseum. 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.
The LFL expanded from 10 franchises to 12 for the 2011–2012 season. The LFL accepted five expansion franchises - the Cleveland Crush, Green Bay Chill, Las Vegas Sin, Minnesota Valkyrie, and Toronto Triumph. Meanwhile, three franchises from the previous season - the Dallas Desire, San Diego Seduction, and Miami Caliente - suspended operations.
The season kicked off on August 26, 2011, and culminated with Lingerie Bowl IX on February 4, 2012. The LFL Eastern and Western Conference championship games were played back-to-back on January 28, 2012, at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California. For the second straight year, the Los Angeles Temptation won the Western Conference championship while the Philadelphia Passion won the Eastern Conference championship, setting up a rematch in the 2012 Lingerie Bowl of the previous year's championship game. The 2012 Lingerie Bowl was played at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the afternoon prior to the start of Super Bowl XLVI. The 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.
In 2012, the LFL expanded its annual "All-Fantasy" game into a three-game international series, with one game in Mexico and two games in Australia. The Mexico All-Fantasy Game took place on May 5, 2012, at the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City; the Western Conference defeated the Eastern Conference, 37-7. The second match of the "2012 LFL All-Fantasy Tour" took place in Brisbane, Australia, on June 2, 2012, at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre; the Western Conference again emerged victorious, this time by a 45–36 score. The Western Conference took a 3–0 series sweep with a 31–24 victory in the third and final "All-Fantasy" match in Sydney, Australia, on June 9, 2012, at Allphones Arena.
The league delayed the next LFL US season from fall/winter 2012 to April 2013 in order to shift to a spring/summer schedule and to focus on the 2012 LFL Canada season.
For the 2013 season, the LFL accepted two expansion franchises - the Omaha Heart and the Atlanta Steam. The Toronto Triumph switched leagues, joining LFL Canada for its inaugural 2012 season, while the Orlando Fantasy officially suspended operations, again leaving the league at 12 teams. The Tampa Breeze relocated to Jacksonville, Florida and were renamed the Jacksonville Breeze. The league also aligned their twelve teams into four three-team divisions for the 2013 season.
The 2013 LFL US season kicked off on March 30, 2013. Divisional championship games were held on August 17, 2013, and the conference championship games were held on August 24, 2013, in Ontario, California. The Philadelphia Passion advanced to their third straight Legends Cup (formerly the Lingerie Bowl) by winning the Eastern Conference championship, while the Chicago Bliss claimed the Western Conference title. The 2013 Legends Cup was held at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 1, 2013, with the Chicago Bliss triumphing, 38-14.
The Pacific Cup was once again played at ShoWare Center on December 6, 2013. This time the Seattle Mist would face the Los Angeles Temptation due to the cancellation of the 2013 Canada season and not enough preparation from the BC Angels. Several key players from the Angels joined the Mist while a few key players from Las Vegas Sin joined the Temptation. The Mist won by a score of 27-25.
In the 2013 offseason the LFL announced that it had temporarily suspended operations for the Philadelphia Passion and Minnesota Valkyrie franchises, both of which will not compete in the 2014 LFL US season. The Philadelphia Passion are expected to return in 2015 under new leadership, while the Minnesota Valkyrie will not return due to LFL USA’s new stadium business model structure. The earliest expected return for Minnesota is 2016.
- Current LFL Canada teams
- Defunct LFL Canada team
|Toronto Triumph||Hershey Centre||Mississauga, Ontario||2011-12||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, 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. On February 9, 2012, the LFL announced that Abbotsford, British Columbia, would be the next Canadian city to host a team in the League. 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. 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."
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. On March 6, the LFL announced that the franchise would be named the Regina Rage after an online fan vote.
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. 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.
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 Anne Hanson and receiver Aleesa Garcia named as the game's MVPs.
On December 15, 2012, the first annual Pacific Cup was played between the Seattle Mist of LFL US and the BC Angels of LFL Canada. Dubbed the 'Border War', the game was hosted by the Seattle Mist at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington, with home venues alternating each season.
On June 27, 2013, the 2013 LFL Canada schedule was released. LFL Canada accepted one proposed expasion team, the Calgary Fillies; their home games would be played at the Stampede Corral. Meanwhile, the Toronto Triumph suspended operations for the 2013 season, bringing the number of LFL Canada teams back to four. On September 16, 2013, the LFL officially postponed the entire 2013 LFL Canada season until 2014.
However, the BC Angels are expected to again participate in the second-annual "Pacific Cup", an exhibition game between the BC Angels and LFL US's Seattle Mist. The 2013 contest is scheduled for December. On October 3, it was announced that the Angels would be replaced in the game by the LA Temptation, citing not enough preparation. However, a few key players from the Angels would make the trip to Seattle to join the Mist. Its expected that a couple of them will stay with the team for their 2014 Season.
Australia hosted two games of the 2012 LFL All-Fantasy Game Tour. 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.
LFL Australia premiered in December 2013. The New South Wales Surge, Queensland Brigade, Victoria Maidens, and Western Australia Angels are the four teams playing in the inaugural 2013–14 LFL Australia season.
- Current LFL Australia teams
|New South Wales Surge||Centrebet Stadium||Sydney||2013-14|
|Queensland Brigade||Skilled Park||Gold Coast||2013-14|
|Victoria Maidens||AAMI Park||Melbourne||2013-14|
|Western Australia Angels||nib Stadium||Perth||2013-14|
- Ladies Gridiron League
The LFL announced plans for an official minor league based out of Sydney, Australia, called the Ladies Gridiron League (LGL). The Ladies Gridiron League was designed to bring awareness of American football to Australian culture. Five teams were announced to take part in this league: Berwick Diamonds, Sutherland Sirens, Western Furries, Newcastle Vipers, and Bondi Rage. However, an official season has yet to take place.
In 2009–2010, weekly games were shot in 1080i high-definition and broadcast on some MyNetworkTV affiliate stations, international stations, and online.
In 2010–2011, MTV Networks' MTV2 channel licensed the broadcast rights to 20 regular season and two conference playoff games and aired highlights of those games on a program entitled LFL Presents: LFL, Friday Night Football on MTV2.
In 2011–12, MTV Networks' MTV2 channel broadcast 20 regular season games, two conference playoff games, and the championship game on LFL Presents: LFL, Friday Night Football on MTV2. This season, however, they presented the games in their entirety and broadcast them live at 9:00 PM ET.
In 2013, the Legends Football League began airing their games exclusively online on a week-delayed basis, releasing their games every Saturday on YouTube. Games are shot in 1080i.
Since the 2009–2010 season, the Legends 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 originally composed by Five Stone in a collaboration with the vocalist Piper from the band Flipsyde. The LFL theme song changed in 2013 to "The Chosen" by Iowa-based group Drenalin.
The league has met with criticism. Critics say the league degrades female athletes through "pernicious objectification". 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." 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. Adrian Purnell of the Tampa Breeze said that the outfits are only for marketing purposes.
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]."  More players see it as a tool to get an audience who will enjoy the sport of women's football, like Cleveland Crush player Marija Condric when she says, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Sit down and watch. You’ll forget what we are wearing and you will be thinking about how hard that girl got hit on that last play.”  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." Even before uniform changes occurred during the rebranding of the league in 2013, athletes of the league defended their ability to protect themselves from being objectified by saying, "Just because we play in the LFL does not mean we promote promiscuity. We are smart females. We are athletes who take care of our bodies. We are the total package." Beyond that women in sports are often depicted as manly and unattractive. Athletes like Claudia Allan think the LFL gives a unique opportunity for women "to flaunt what we’ve got, but still be powerful and sporty."
The league has been accused of fining players for wearing too many clothes, as well as not paying medical bills for injured players. 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. 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. League founder Mortaza has admitted that the league is marketed toward "mostly beer-drinking college students aged 21 and up."
Many women look at the Legends Football League as a legitimate means for women to have the chance to participate in a football league. The United Kingdom has a few amateur football leagues, but nothing near the caliber that the LFL is bringing to the LFL Europa League in 2015. The Legends Football League has been met with good reception from female football enthusiasts. There is a lot of interest in the United Kingdom and also in the world for full-contact female football. Currently, there are mainly flag football leagues for women. For women who want full-contact, they must "play with the men." The demand for a full-contact female football league exists and the Legends Football League believes they can fill the void that currently exists. The league believes lots of girls want to play football too and wants to "insure many generations of young ladies have the opportunity" Ultimately, the goal to build legitimacy in female sports is to separate athletic ability from sexuality, which has lead some to ask: What kind of organizations will have fully clothed female sports, while sports like the LFL make a lot of money off their marketing techniques?  Critics have speculated if this is the only way to gain exposure to the women’s tackle football, and if so, "Do we really want to stand by and let this exploitation be exported across the world?" 
Along with the rebrand of the league in 2013, the league made the decision to change the uniforms. Before, the uniforms in the Lingerie Football League consisted of an athletic bra and underwear that were more revealing than protective. The uniforms had lace and ribbons and the athletes all had to wear garter belts. The league traded these uniforms in for "performance wear." The league felt like the uniforms were too heavy on sex appeal. In accordance with the name change, they thought it was appropriate to also change the uniforms. The new uniforms resemble the uniforms worn by volleyball players.
The league has received many complaints from players in regards to safety. Since the uniforms cover very little skin, the players are very susceptible to injury. Ex-lingerie football player Nikki Johnson was one of the many players that experienced injuries in her time in the league. Those injuries included injuries sustained from hard hits and a broken wrist that required surgery. She, like many other players, believes the league gives very little protection to the women by providing them with weak shoulder pads and weak helmets. The rest of their bodies are not covered, so they can sustain scrapes and bruises very easily. Although the league has changed its image and the uniforms have changed, the policies on equipment have not changed. As part of the reformation and brand change, LFL and partner Rawlings changed the shoulder pads to be more protective, including a harder plastic shell to cover the shoulders instead of just a pad. In addition, the helmets were given more padding inside and the addition of a concussion meter, meant to go off and alert the trainer of a head injury, regardless of the players saying that they are fine. This putting into place a system where, if a player goes out of action for a head injury, they must pass a physical and mental test before being allowed back on the playing field.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Legends Football League.|
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- Official US site
- Official Canada site
- Official Australian site
- Legends Football League on Twitter
- Legends Football League on Facebook
- Legends Football League's channel on YouTube