In a move sure to polarize fans of what is billed as the "Nation's fasted growing sports league," the Lingerie Football League has announced plans to rename itself the “Legends Football League.” As part of the move, the LFL will be ditching the thing that made the league noteworthy in the first place: lingerie.
The league announced the change in a press release this afternoon. Other changes include new team logos absent of "sexy female figures," redesigned shoulder pads to increase protection, and changing their slogan from "True Fantasy Football" to "Women of the Gridiron."
The players will no longer wear modified bras, panties, and garters while playing tackle football on turf (ouch!), instead favoring more traditional performance wear which will “replace all lingerie aspects” of the league’s uniforms.
The league is billing it as “the next step in the maturation of our now global sport.” It goes on to state that the change was made to stop being “viewed as a gimmick” and legitimize the sport by focusing on its athletes’ talents, rather than their bodies.
It’s a good move, if you ask me. More importantly, it’s the right move. I wonder how many potentially fantastic football players didn’t get into the league because they didn’t look as good in their skivvies as a less athletically-gifted player. If you’re going to market the league based on football alone, you better make it so the best players can play, no matter what they look like.
But it’s also worth wondering what impact this will have on the league as a whole. Are the sell-out crowds the league boasts about showing up to watch the exciting seven-on-seven play? Did the LFL become the first female sports league to get its own videogame because of the novelty of football with no punting or kicking? Are Philadelphia Passion fans showing up to the Wells Fargo Center to watch the athletic prowess of the players?
Let’s face it, probably not. After all, the video posted by the league to accompany the press release still shows LFL players pumping iron and doing calisthenics in the skimpiest workout gear imaginable with occasional close-ups of their hard, sweaty bodies. But at least we can get away from the wink-and-nod marketing of the league that danced around the fact that you were basically seeing an angry, mutated version of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
When the dust settles, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the league. Can the LFL succeed where leagues like the Women’s Professional Football League, the National Women’s Football Association, or American Football Women’s League before it failed? Or will a move away from that which made it unique -- T&A – doom the league to the same fate as the others I just mentioned: DOA?