AL HAMNIK: Wiping that LFL smirk off smug faces

2010-02-02T00:00:00Z AL HAMNIK: Wiping that LFL smirk off smug facesBy Al Hamnik - Times Columnist nwitimes.com
February 02, 2010 12:00 am  • 

The Lingerie Football League is a walking target with a bull's-eye the size of Texas on its back.

I mean, gorgeous women playing seven-on-seven tackle football in nothing but a helmet, shoulder pads, cleats and their underwear?

Back in December, I compared the LFL to a gentlemen's club minus the cigar smoke. League officials were not happy, saying I had obviously never attended a game, which is correct.

Then I heard from Keith C. Hac, a transplanted Hoosier now living in Elgin.

Hac is a 1981 Lew Wallace graduate, played football there for Dave Templin, and is now head coach of -- you guessed it -- the first-year Chicago Bliss.

And his ladies are just one win away from Saturday's seventh annual Lingerie Bowl in Miami.

But first, they must beat the Miami Caliente in Thursday's Eastern Conference Championship in Hollywood, Fla. The Dallas Desire and Los Angeles Temptations meet later for the Western Conference title, and the winners advance. I'm sure you're bookmarking this on your laptop.

"The lingerie gets fans in (but) it's the football that keeps them," Hac said. "People imagine it's just glorified mud wrestling and it's not. These girls can really play football, as well as you can expect a girl to play football.

"There's quarterbacks in this league who can throw a football 40 yards. It's incredible. I have football buddies who come to the games and they walk away saying: 'My God. That was really good football.'"

Mind you, Keith Hac says this without giggling or rolling his eyes. This is no peep show.

"Our team runs counters, options, reverses, halfback passes, screens -- every type of play the arena game would give you to play -- and they run it well," he said.

Tackling is another issue.

"Guys learn how to tackle when they first start to walk whereas girls are not exposed to that type of physical contact," Hac said. "As much as we drill them, fundamentally, a lot of girls still like to go high on a tackle around the shoulders rather than break down. We don't encourage them to get low because they really don't know what they're doing and we don't want an injury.

"There's some great hitting out there, though. They'll slam into each other like there's no tomorrow."

The regular season is only four games, approximately one every six weeks, giving the athletes time to heal.

It's obvious the players on all LFL teams, including the San Diego Seduction, Seattle Mist, Denver Dream, New York Majesty, Tampa Breeze and Philadelphia Passion, hope to land modeling or acting careers when their short playing careers are over. Let's be honest, OK?

"There are other opportunities that present themself from playing in The Lingerie Bowl," Hac admitted, adding: "The first criteria to play here is looks. And then we find out if they're athletic. They have to be phenomenally beautiful and can play football."

Bliss home games are held at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates and Hac estimates 80 percent of the crowd is young males. Hac was contacted by the LFL to coach and came highly recommended as the defensive coordinator for Steve McMichael's Indoor Football League champion Chicago Slaughter.

"I'm like, 'You want me to coach beautiful women running around in their lingerie and pay me? Sure, I can do that,'" he chuckled.

Hac wants to coach college ball one day at a small, local program that allows him to be close to his three daughters. With his name out there doing double duty, it's just a matter of time.

It's been a wild, crazy ride for sure.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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