Is There A Place For Women’s Football?

wfl_league

Thousands Currently Play In Women’s Semi Pro Leagues

Football is a rough sport.  I often relate it to the ancient battle between gladiators with their armor and swords clashing in a coliseum.  It is a sport that has grown into a sport for giant men playing a game in front of millions of people.    From time to time I will see stories of girls playing high school football and even some articles of semi pro women’s leagues.

So is there a place for a legitimate women’s football league in the crowded sports landscape?

Right now there is the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the little-known National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and even lesser known National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL).  So what about football?

There is the Legends Football League (formerly known as the Lingerie Football League) but that one is for the professional wrestling crowd.  I don’t really consider it a legitimate sport.  Especially when it exploits women by trying to sell sex instead of sport.  I’m not for that and will not support that as a legitimate sport.   You don’t need to put women in bikini-type uniforms.

It’s difficult for women who want to play football to be taken seriously.  Even in high school, the news reports girls playing football as some kind of novelty.   In Florida, they actually have football as a girls’ sport in high school but it is more of flag football played by girls’ teams in the spring.  Still not a sport that people take seriously.  They even refer to it as “powder puff” football.

Occasionally, the newspaper will report on a local women’s football team but other than a brief space filling story, there is not much coverage on the sport.

There are currently five women’s football organizations in the United States.  The Independent Women’s Football League, Women’s Football Alliance, United States Women’s Football League, Icon Women’s Football Association and Women’s Xtreme Football League but these leagues barely get any recognition and even less than men’s semi pro football teams and leagues.

Okay, I’ll be honest and say that it’s hard for me to see women in helmets and pads playing the same game.   I’m not being sexist here but it’s just not the same.   Football is physically difficult and very dangerous but I suppose it isn’t any different than other contact sports out there.  They even have women’s hockey in the Olympics and hockey is very physical.  So what is it about football?

So if I were going to start a women’s football league, how would I do it?

  1. Sponsored by the National Football League (NFL).  I think a women’s league to be considered legitimate would have to have the backing of the NFL just as the NBA does the WNBA.  The league would also try to match teams with their NFL counterparts.
  2. Play in the spring.  No football league – men’s included – would stand a chance playing in the fall.  A short spring schedule would be the way to go.
  3. Change equipment and rules to make the game safer.  I think you could change the helmets and protective gear so it wouldn’t be so dangerous.
  4. Encourage sponsors of women’s products.  Instead of beer and car commercials, get the companies that are geared for women.

What rule changes would I implement?

  • Play 7-on-7 instead of 11 players.  Doing so would spread out the players and make games easier to watch.
  • No kickoff or punt returns.  These are the most dangerous parts of the game.
  • No blitzing or limit blitzing to one player.
  • Changes in football helmets to be smaller or better design to reduce concussions.
  • Instead of shoulder pads or other gear, design uniforms with the necessary padding built-in to allow for easier movement and safety when colliding with other players.

Although a women’s league won’t have the same type of feeder system such as high school to college to pro like the NFL does, I think there are enough women players out there that could fill the rosters of 12-16 teams to make it a quality game to watch.  Unfortunately, I don’t foresee the NFL sponsoring a women’s professional league but I think they are missing a chance to promote the sport to an fan base that is already a strong demographic for the NFL.   Personally, I think it’s time for a legitimate professional league.

Obscure Sports News

mizfits

Are you ready for some “women’s” football?  It’s not September but some women’s teams have taken the field to kick off their spring seasons and it isn’t a fashion statement or for the faint-of-heart.

The local Music City Mizfits defeated the Knoxville Lightning, 36-14, on Saturday.  The Mizfits, members of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) played an interleague battle against the Lightning of the International Women’s Football League (IWFL) in Nashville.    The WFA consists of 65 teams and one of the largest women’s tackle football leagues in the United States.  The Mizfits are now 2-1 on the season and will play against the Tennessee Train this week in Harrison, Tennessee.  The DC Divas (Division 1), St. Louis Slam (Division II) and Acadiana Zydeco (Division III) are the defending champions from last season.   The IWFL lists 16 active teams in four divisions.

Indoor Football League (IFL) scores from April 14 & 15:

  • Wichita Falls 81, Cedar Rapids 52
  • Arizona 73, Salt Lake 60
  • Spokane 36, Colorado 24
  • Iowa 48, Nebraska 14
  • Sioux Falls 55,  Green Bay 33

The defending Arena Football League (AFL) champion, Philadelphia Soul and the expansion, Washington Valor, are the only undefeated teams after their first games.  Washington defeated Baltimore 51-38 and Philadelphia edged Tampa Bay 56-52.

Here are the current standings in the National Arena League (NAL):

  1. Jacksonville Sharks (4-0)
  2. Monterrey Steel (3-0)
  3. Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (4-1)
  4. Columbus Lions (2-2)
  5. High Country Grizzlies (2-2)
  6. Georgia Firebirds (1-4)
  7. Corpus Christi Rage (0-4)
  8. Dayton Wolfpack (0-3)

Quarterback Nate Davis of the Amarillo Venom was named the Champions Indoor Football League (CIFL) Offensive Player of the Week.  He had seven touchdowns and 188 total yards passing in Amarillo’s 70-63 win over the Texas Revolution.

Arena Pro Football (APF) – The Richmond Roughriders played their first home game of the season last weekend as they crushed the Birmingham Outlawz, 84-8.  It was the first indoor game after a tw0-year absence in Richmond.

National Lacrosse League (NLL) – The Georgia Swarm clinched the East Division title with a 17-16 win over the Buffalo Bandits.   The Saskatchewan Rush and Colorado Mammoths have clinched playoff spots in the West.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – In the only games played last weekend:  Atlanta Hustle 37, Nashville Nightwatch 27; Raleigh Flyers 25, Jacksonville Cannons 18.

USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) – Abar Gordon (Mesa, AZ) is the current men’s leading player.  Natalie Aaron (Casa Grande, AZ) is the top-ranked player on the women’s rankings.  This weekend’s tournaments will be the USAPA West Regional Tournament in St. George, Utah and the Low Country Pickleball Classic in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  Pickleball combines the skills of tennis, badminton and ping pong.  It is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.

USA Shuffleboard Association (USASA) – The team of Chuck Crouse and Robert Brooks finished first in the tournament held in Hemet, California on April 6th.

Alliance Football League (AFL) – Here at the current standings of the league:

  1. Knoxville Knights (5-1)
  2. Kentucky Patriots (5-1)
  3. Cleveland Storm (3-3)
  4. Appalachian Outlaws (3-3)
  5. Tri-State Wolves (2-4)
  6. Tennessee Warriors (0-6)