This coming Saturday, the City of Chicago is playing host to the 2013 Legends Football League Playoffs. If this league doesn’t sound very familiar to you, it’s because at the start of this 2013 season, the league inserted the word “Legends” in place of “Lingerie”. A marketing decision, that I assume was an attempt to remove the instantaneous thought that women playing football in lingerie, can’t be taken all too serious. While the uniforms still fall in the scantily clad category and are extremely easy on the eyes, the ladies who dawn them are much more than just eye-candy.
One of those ladies (pictured), is Heather Furr. She is the Quarterback of the Chicago Bliss, who are one of the final six teams in the 2013 playoffs, vying for a spot in the Championship this year. Heather is widely seen as one of the true faces of the league. She is constantly recognized for her passion and dedication to the game, and most importantly, for her role in being such a great ambassador for the LFL. With this being her third year in the league, she won the MVP in her rookie year and has found herself on the all-fantasy team every possible year. Absolutely killing it.
With the playoffs only 4 days away, I caught up with Heather a little earlier today and had her paint a picture for those of us who might not know much about the league, or what being an LFL player fully entails. Below you will find some of her insight on a handful of questions I tossed her way.
NIS: When someone who doesn’t know much about the LFL hears that it consists of women playing football in a limited amount of clothing, I think the common reaction is to assume it’s not necessarily a “real” sport. Instead, falling somewhere along the lines of the WWE, with a hidden script and agenda-driven storylines. Why should people reassess their thoughts on that?
Heather: All it takes is for someone to come and watch an entire game. From the kickoff you will realize that nothing in this league or in ANY game is scripted. It is REAL, 7-on-7 tackle football, with very similar rules to a men’s arena football game. There are a couple differences, but you have to remember, we haven’t been playing football our entire lives.
NIS: Did a lot of the ladies in the LFL play sports at the collegiate level? Ending up on a different career path, but finding themselves in the LFL in search of an outlet for their athletic abilities?
Heather: I think a majority of the players were involved in some sport collegiality. I played basketball and ran track. I know some of my teammates played volleyball, soccer and ran track in College. We are all athletes that (a) couldn’t give up COMPETING and (b) simply just love football.
NIS: I know how much you ladies love the game of football, simply because you don’t get paid for your time competing in the LFL. Do you know why you don’t receive any compensation for all the time you put in?
Heather: I’m not exactly sure why we don’t get paid. To be honest, we aren’t doing it for the money. We see ourselves as pioneers of this league and if in the end we do start getting paid, it would be awesome. But because we don’t get paid, we all have other full-time jobs. I have a teammate that is selling life insurance, one does pharmaceutical sales, and another is in dental school. We would love for football to be our #1 focus overall, though.
NIS: What is the worst injury you have sustained in your three years in the league?
Heather: I have quite a laundry list of pretty bad injuries. I have had a partially torn ACL and PCL, and other damage to my left knee. A grade-2 AC separation in my right shoulder, and yes, that’s my throwing arm. Last winter I came close to completely tearing the PCL in my right knee, and also dislocated my pointer finger on my left hand!
NIS: Do some ladies genuinely dislike others on opposing teams? I’d assume with there being so many girls in such a competitive atmosphere that encourages physical contact, there are quite a few ladies looking for their opportunity to lay a big hit or initiate a fight with a player they might not be so fond of.
Heather: I think fighting for some girls stems from the fact that they aren’t used to getting hit so violently. So they take it personally, which is why I never get involved in that. We are here to hit, and hit HARD. Get over it! Other than that, players start getting dirty with how they hit, and if it’s after the whistle. So if t happens a few times, a fight may break out. I mean, and yes, sometimes there is a dislike for a player from another team. Possibly from things put on social media, or previous games played against them. There’s a lot of reasons, but yes you do dislike some players on other teams. On the other side of the coin though, I am really good friends with a lot of girls in the league and end up playing against almost all of them. You just know that a game is a game, and at the end of it, you shake hands and shake it off!
NIS: If you were commissioner of the LFL, what would you change about the league?
Heather: The main thing I would change on game day is how much running around we do. We go through green screens, then photo shoots, then teasers, then photo shoots again. Don’t get it twisted, I LOVE the pictures that they use of me for marketing and everything else, but that’s all done on game day. I’d like to be able to get that all accomplished some other time. The problem is, there really is no other time to do it. The league headquarters are in Las Vegas and most weekends there are back-to-back games.
NIS: OK, a couple random questions before we wrap this up. You can take three sports figures out with you for a night of drinking. Who are they and why?
Heather: 1) Michael Jordan: HE IS MICHAEL JORDAN. He went from being ‘ok’ to becoming arguably the greatest basketball player of all time! He is a Legend. I was 7 years old when the Bulls won their first Championship, but you better believe I watched it. I could go on and on about the reasons for choosing him!
2) Mike Ditka. He is DA COACH. Again, another winner. He knows how to win, what it takes to win, and has the will and want to do it. The drive to succeed!
3) Evan Longoria. This response is the ULTIMATE girly girl in me, but I think he is so dreamy.
NIS: What type of music are you rocking in your headphones on game day or before you take the field? Any artists or groups that instantly come to mind?
Heather: I love music. Music is such a huge part of my everyday, but with that being said I can’t pinpoint specific things I listen to at certain times. I am all over the board! I go from Avicii to Coldplay, Mumford & Sons to Alex Clare, Radiohead to Sara Bareilles, John Butler Trio to Rihanna, and the lists GO ON!!!! I skip skip skip until I find what I’m looking for!
NIS: Alright, back to football for the final question. What is currently going on in the LFL playoffs? What can we expect this Saturday at the Sears Centre, in your match-up with the Los Angeles Temptation?
Heather: This past weekend’s game against the Green Bay Chill was one of the most important games of my career, but this Saturday’s game against Los Angeles, is definitely THE BIGGEST! This will be the 5th time in my career that I am playing against LA, and going into it, my record is 0-4. The Chicago Bliss have never beaten the Temptation. Los Angeles is currently the THREE time defending LFL Champs, while Chicago has yet to win one. They are without a doubt the team to beat, and for us, this Saturday is just as big as a Championship Game.
While the Legends Football League may not be perceived as a mainstream sport, I get a feeling that the ladies of the LFL aren’t too concerned with that. I think the collective mission of every woman in this league, is to put themselves out there in the name of competition, and slowly bring as much credibility and recognition to this sport that they put so much hard work and passion into. I’ll be attending my first LFL game this Saturday, in support of my good friend Heather and her Chicago Bliss teammates. Luckily they are the same colors as DA BEARS, so proper attire will not be an issue. Regardless of what field it’s on or league it’s in, it’s a beautiful time of the year. The smell of Football is in the air, folks.
If you want to keep up with Heather and her endeavors on and off the field, you can find her here:
LFL Homepage- http://www.lflus.com/