I was channel surfing this morning after work and came across an LFL (Legends Football League) game on FUSE. I decided to check it out and was surprised by what I saw. The Legends Football League, formally the Lingerie Football League, has its roots in the Lingerie Bowl halftime shows from 2004-2006. These were PPV events that aired during halftime of the NFL’s Super Bowl in which women dressed in lingerie played football. The main attraction then was of course the scantily clad women.
In 2009 the yearly event morphed into a full on women’s football league, then called the Lingerie Football League. The league featured ten teams from football cities such as Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia and New York, and the teams each played four games during the regular season.
The LFL attempted to move beyond the lingerie aspect of their sport in 2013 when it rebranded itself as the Legends Football League and dropped lingerie uniforms in exchange for a more ‘sporty’ look.
The uniforms alone make it hard to take the LFL seriously. Why are the jerseys folded up to expose the chest area? Why the bikini bottoms? The answer seems pretty clear, the LFL is less about athleticism and competition and more about sex, sex and sex. Is it wrong to be sexy? Certainly not, but the sexy attire is not at all necessary if the LFL wanted to focus on women playing the sport of football.
The presentation of the game isn’t very focused on the sport either. In the few minutes that I watched there were several clips of the coach on the sidelines and I felt like I was watching reality TV. The reactions and rampages by the coaches seemed scripted and fictitious. A trailer for the 2015 season (see below) further degrades the sport, seeming more like a trailer for a reality TV show, and at one point a player tells a ref “you ain’t getting none after the game.”
The LFL’s website prominently features a quote from NBC Sports noting that “The LFL is the fastest-growing pro sports league in the nation.” Maybe this is true, yet the 2015 season featured only six teams, down from the ten team league from 2009.
I’m not trying to hate on the LFL, I just think it can do better for both the women who engage in the sport and the public perception of women’s sports in general. Let the players dress up in the same type of protective gear NFL players do. Focus on the athleticism and competitive nature of the sport, not the lack of clothing and sex appeal.
The LFL season wraps up this Sunday, August 23, with the 2015 Legends Cup featuring the Seattle Mist (5-1-1) versus the Chicago Bliss (6-0). The game will be played in Washington at 3PM. You can watch the game on Fuse, but it won’t be shown until the week after. This Saturday at 9PM Eastern Fuse will be showing the playoff game between Seattle and Los Angeles which was played on August 15th.