Women will tackle women in the name of sports tonight when the Lingerie Football League holds its season opener for the Tampa Breeze at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Testosterone-fueled fans will cheer their good looks and good moves, probably in that order. Crowds will leave thinking that this wasn't quite the Bucs — thank heavens — but it wasn't a game for sissies, either.
Here's a primer on the league, starting with the most pressing issue: the uniform.
Is it lingerie?
Technically, no. The uniform is a sports bra and bikini shorts by Foxers, with a lace choker and garter belt as accessories. The uniforms' colors are modeled after each city's NFL team uniform, in Tampa's case maroon and black. During games, players wear a helmet and pads to protect against injuries. Fans can buy the uniforms at lflus.com, although the site is out of stock until probably next week.
What about wardrobe malfunctions?
Players are required to wear pasties and double-sided tape to avoid revealing too much on camera. Games are recorded and available for pay-per-view a few days later on lflus.com. Players can get suspended for purposely pulling down another player's top or bottom or ejected, and possibly fined, for starting a fight.
Do players get paid?
The women get a paycheck based on attendance and their team's record, although players admit they play more for the exposure and thrill of it than for the cash. Tampa Breeze players have been practicing at least twice a week for several months. Planet Beach gives them free, unlimited tanning.
What is the Lingerie Football League?
The league is an offshoot of the Lingerie Bowl, the annual Super Bowl half-time special shown on pay-per-view, which first aired in 2004. Founded by Mitch Mortaza, the league is made up of 10 teams split into the Eastern and Western conferences. Its inaugural season began Sept. 4 and ends Jan. 29. Each team has four regular season games, which are played on Friday nights at major sports venues nationwide. The conference champions will face off in Lingerie Bowl VII in Miami.
Who's on the Tampa Breeze?
The team has 14 active and six reserve players. The women range in age from 18 to 35, with Karissa LaMont of Clearwater being the youngest in the league. Most of the players have full-time jobs or go to college. The captain and quarterback, 29-year-old Jenn Myers, attended Chamberlain High School and played intramural flag football at Florida State University.
What are the rules of the game?
Teams play 7-on-7 full-contact football on a 50-yard indoor field that's 30-yard wide with 8-yard end zones. Games have two, 17-minute halves and a 15-minute halftime. There are no field goals or punting, except for kicks at the opening of each half.
Can I get tickets to Friday's game?
Absolutely. League officials don't release attendance figures, but media reports from other cities say attendance has been low. Forum officials say plenty of tickets remain for Friday's game. They sell for $15 to $135, plus service charges, and are available at the door or through Ticketmaster. A tailgate party on the outdoor plaza goes from 5 to 8 p.m. Kickoff is at 9.