The quarterback wears a helmet, shoulder pads-- and a bikini.
And most players add mascara and lip gloss. This is no ordinary football game. It's Lingerie League football—the newest pigskin league that is equal parts skin and football.
What started as a novelty pay-per-view alternative to the Super Bowl half-time show is now a league of its own. Models and attractive college students —dressed in next to nothing—play 7 on 7 full contact football. There are ten national teams—all of them, named to capture the interest of their mostly male fan base—the Dallas Desire, the Los Angeles Temptation and the San Diego Seduction.
The league kicks off its inaugural season Friday, Sept. 4, with the Chicago Bliss taking on the Miami Caliente.
"I've always loved sports and I have a passion for it, so that's why this is a perfect match for me," explains Danielle Moinet, a cornerback, and captain of the Chicago Bliss. She saw the Lingerie Bowl during a Super Bowl game, and wanted to play, so she attended an audition and made the team.
Moinet is a part-time model who also works for a nutritional supplement company. Her 19 teammates have varied backgrounds. One is a police officer, another works as a nurse, and a half dozen more attend college or grad school. Most were college athletes.
"Some girls use it as a way to escape from the nine-to-five, some girls do it because they love playing sports and this is something they want to do. Everyone does it for different reasons," explains Moinet.
While some members of the Lingerie League have dated football players, few had experience playing the game. That was a huge challenge for Rasche Hill, assistant coach for the Bliss. Hill is a former NFL player for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who spent six years on the Chicago Slaughter, an arena team. He explained his initial reluctance to work with the Bliss.
"When I first thought about it, I was a little skeptical. I had seen the Lingerie Bowls during the Super Bowl a couple of times. It was just a bunch of pretty girls in lingerie bumping around. It was not what we play."
"They've never touched a football, never thrown a football for the most part, in an organized way-- so my whole thinking is we treat them like Pee Wee players," said Hill.
Two practices later, he changed his mind.
"These girls are tough," Hill said. "People might be surprised. I was surprised. We have a lot of athletic girls, they're smart, and they're a lot more skilled than people think."
But skill may not be the main reason fans pay attention. Moinet doesn't seem to mind.
"It is lingerie we are out there playing in -- something different than the other girls, but the athleticism that we're going to bring to the league is going to change people's perceptions," she said.
The skimpy uniforms are reinforced with double-sided tape to prevent a wardrobe malfunction mid-tackle. They might draw a crowd, but they also leave Lingerie Leaguers at greater risk for injury than their burly—and better covered-- male counterparts.
"You can tell the defensive girls from the offensive girls when you're standing on the field 'cause our arms, I mean, we have the bruises to show for the practice we've been doing," explains Moinet. " My mom was worried I'd get hurt, but I told her that I'm the one tackling other girls."
This inaugural season will be a challenge. There are no films of the teams' past performances—no way to research the competition.
"We're kind of going into this blind," explained Moinet, "We think we're great-- but we just don't know."
The Bliss will find out in their first Friday night game, at the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill., which will also be broadcast on pay-per-view.