Welcome to part 2 of my 3 part series to find you a new sport to get in to for 2015. Part 1 was the BTCC, to which we got a tweet saying, “will the other two be sports?” Now the man in question seems to be a one sport man (football) and regularly says stuff about the Severn sport team tweeting about other sports… Well to you sir I present the Legends Football League, also known as LFL.
Its Superbowl week, the biggest week for sports in America as the Country counts down for one of the biggest sporting events in the world, but I’m not going to bore you with the NFL as you know all about that, I’m here to introduce you the LFL. Until 2013 it was known as the Lingerie Football League, intrigued?
The women of gridiron, the LFL is a women’s American Football League and one of the fastest growing women’s sports in the US. Played in the spring and summer over the pond, it’s a 7 v 7 full contact version of American football in a league competed for by ten teams from across the states. Also did I mention, it’s played in lingerie? Must have forgot to mention that…
So why is it different from the multi-million dollar men’s game? Well for starters, obviously, the uniform is different! They don’t get paid to play! Yes it’s an amateur sport where the woman play for fun and for the chance to play football on a national scale with tv coverage and the professionalism of the NFL. It’s not an easy sport to play, these ladies don’t hold back, hard hits, wipe outs and sometimes full on fights occur in games.
It has come in for criticism and you maybe reading this thinking it can’t be real or disagree with it. 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. 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 LFL broadcasts all its games on YouTube in HD and on MTV in the states. In recent years the league has taken massive steps forward improving the uniform and safety. At the start of the 2014 US season, LFL unveiled new helmets by Bauer, designed with a harder outer shell and more padding than the CCM helmets used the past 4 years. They are still equipped with the concussion meters. Chinstraps, while still by Russell, are thicker and have more padding. The shoulder pads were remodeled again for the 2014 season, with more padding given to the shoulders and a thicker plate given to the chest pad. They also introduced new sturdier elbow and knee pads, in addition to new gloves designed by Champion Gloves, replacing Cutters as the leagues official glove. These things bought in as the sport grows, players get better and games more competitive.
The 2013/14 changes of name, uniform and brand have improved the credibility and seriousness of the sport with attendances growing approximately 22 percent each season since 2009. Web sentiment for the league has increased almost 9 percent since the rebranding started. The LFL’s core demographic has remained between 18-34 at roughly 70 percent, with a concerted effort at targeting young adults. With the rebranding, though, the league has seen its female fan base increase to almost 45 percent.
So if you’re not interested in the Super Bowl this weekend, or can’t get in to the NFL, give the LFL ladies a try. Competitive football, with women playing because they want to and playing good football at that. Also check it out if you want to see women in lingerie grappling with each other. But mainly check it out because it’s different! We’re going to bring you some more articles about the LFL over the year so keep a look out!
For more info on the LFL visit http://www.lflus.com
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