Lingerie Football: So Sexy or Just Sexist? Female Players Say They Love the Game

Female players, many of whom are moms, risk injury for the love of the game.

ByABC News
September 20, 2013, 11:36 AM

Sept. 20, 2013— -- With war paint smeared on their faces, football pads on their shoulders and garters dangling from their lace-trimmed shorts, the all-female football team known as The Chicago Bliss filed into their locker room at halftime. They were beating their Midwest rivals, the Green Bay Chill, but their coach was not at all pleased with how they were playing.

"Get your s--- together, that girl is kicking your f---ing ass," he yelled at one of the players.

Welcome to the Legends Football League, where ladies dressed in nothing but a bra, booty shorts and a hockey helmet play seven-on-seven football -- ground-stomping, body-bruising football.

In short, these ladies are no powder puffs -- but is the sport super sexy or just plain sexist?

With 12 all-female teams participating in two conferences, Eastern and Western, LFL promoters say this is the fastest growing pro-sports franchise in the country. The ladies fill arenas with all sorts of fans, drawing them in with shameless sex appeal and hoping they will stay to appreciate the athleticism.

"Nightline" spent time with The Chicago Bliss, whose head coach is Keith Hac. After 18 years coaching men in semi-pro football, Hac feels that the biggest compliment he can pay these ladies is to treat them just like the guys.

"You're letting the worst defense in the f---ing league stop you, the worst defense," he told them in the locker room at halftime. "You guys are much better than this. You're much better than this."

The LFL has a chorus of critics who accuse the league of objectifying women to sell tickets. But league commissioner Mitch Mortaza makes no apologies for the LFL's business model – sex sells.

"We just happen to have an entire league of Tom Brady's and David Beckham's and Maria Sharapova's," he said. "That's the business model. We're very upfront and honest about it, and I think to a degree, that's definitely helped in the marketing of the sport."

Most football players don't include tanning and manicures in their training routines, but these female footballers see it as just part of prepping for the next big game. While it may seem like somewhat of a spectacle, the teams take the sport very seriously, spending at least six hours a week practicing on the field, rehearsing and studying complicated plays.

"You know its women playing football with lingerie on, but at the same time we're serious. This is not just a costume," said Yashi Rice, a defensive tackle for the Bliss.

These women play in the League for no money. It's a second job for most. Rice, whose brother, Simeon Rice, played in the NFL for 12 years and even won a Super Bowl in 2002 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sells life insurance.

Chicago Bliss wide receiver Alli Alberts is a dentist. Ironically, her specialty is doling out brutal hits on the field and periodontics. And the injuries the women suffer on the field can be serious -- Alberts said she has suffered concussions, but she is most concerned about her right hand.

"If I break a finger on this right hand, I can't do any dentistry, and how am I going to make money," she said. "But I don't live my life that way. I don't live my life [as] 'oh I might get hurt so I shouldn't do it.'"