Legends of the Gridiron: The LFL Makes its Mark on Professional Football
Traditionally, football has long been considered a “manly” sport, in that players generally personified a testosterone-laden, gritty form of machismo that is somewhat less pronounced in sports like baseball, basketball or tennis. As such, and when compared with those, it wasn’t considered a game that women want to play, much less perform competitively. Well, that was then, and this is now.
Beginning as a novelty on Pay-Per-View during Super Bowl halftimes in the mid 2000s, the Lingerie Football League emerged in 2009 with a number of teams, a schedule, and a championship game. In other words, it was no longer a singular game, played once a year for fun and entertainment, it was now a league in its own right.
Though the initial concept was one of models playing football in lingerie, the league came to attract athletes who had participated in a variety of women’s sports. To that end, beginning with the 2013 season, the league changed its name to Legends Football League and modified the season schedule from fall/winter to spring/summer.
Despite the teams competing in the United States, the league has a strong following overseas. “Media outlets were more open to the LFL in international markets than here in the U.S.,” explained Nicole Peterson, who not only works in marketing for the LFL, but plays in the league as well. “We do have strong fan bases in places where the local NFL or other sports teams support their hometown LFL team.” She cited how Pete Carroll publicly congratulated the Seattle Mist after winning the 2017 Legends Cup capping off an undefeated season.
Peterson explains that the LFL is full contact football with rules similar to that of most arena leagues. “Most of the arenas where the teams play are indoors except for Chicago and Pittsburgh and hold anywhere from 2,500 to 4,500 fans,” she continued, “And we’re very excited to have the 2019 Legends Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa this coming September.”
The LFL is poised for continued growth as expansion teams, as well increased marketing and merchandising efforts are on the horizon moving forward. The women have really taken the ball and ran with it.
The 2019 season starts on April 5.