Melissa Margulies, left (with football) runs down the field. Photo/Dave Samarzich from LFL
Mammoth High School alumni Melissa Margulies is currently competing for a chance to play pro football on Super Bowl Sunday.
It won’t be her first time, either.
And she’ll be doing it in lingerie.
Margulies, 24, plays for the L.A. Temptation in the Lingerie Football League (LFL) and was named MVP during the team’s last game (Dec. 16) against Seattle.
The Lingerie Football League is a women’s seven-on-seven tackle American football league, created in 2009, with games played in the fall and winter at NBA, NFL, NHL and MLS arenas and stadiums.
The concept originated from the Super Bowl halftime alternative television special called the Lingerie Bowl, a pay-per-view event broadcast annually opposite the Super Bowl halftime show.
The television show became a staple of Super Bowl Sunday festivities and bloomed into a 12-team league whose games are broadcast for millions worldwide in over 85 countries.
LFL games are conducted indoors on a 50-yard field. The women wear shoulder, knee and elbow pads along with hockey style helmets with a clear plastic face shield.
The jerseys are cut short (it’s not called lingerie for nothing) but besides that, it is just as hard hitting as any other full contact football game.
“The LFL isn’t just models running around in their underwear,” Margulies said. “It’s beautiful female athletes playing full contact football at the highest level.”
The teams run complicated plays, throw long passes down the field and are usually coached by former NFL players.
During her last game, Margulies racked up enough stats to be named the game’s MVP.
“I knew I had a good game,” Margulies said, “but I didn’t know it was good enough to get MVP until someone told me after the game.”
Most of the players in the LFL are former competitive athletes, like Margulies, who want to be able to compete and train just like their male counter parts. They also happen to “just love playing football.”
A friend from college nonchalantly mentioned the LFL to Margulies in April 2010.
‘I’ve never even heard of such a league,” Margulies said.
The two college athletes (her friend played volleyball) decided to try out for the team—more for the fun of it than anything else.
“We both went and passed all the try-out rounds,” Margulies said. “We both made the team but she decided not to pursue it.”
Margulies on the other hand, with her interest piqued, followed through.
During the tryouts, Margulies conducted research into the league. The more she learned, the more excited she grew.
Margulies had been looking into women’s tackle football leagues before, but the size of the women playing in those leagues intimidated her.
“Those women are huge,” she said. “With the lingerie league, [the sport is] equally as hard hitting, but the women weren’t as huge because we have to look good in our uniform.”
Margulies joined the L.A. Temptation and started her first season in fall 2010. She plays running back, and wide receiver, and when she occasionally plays defense, she plays corner.
She’s currently finishing up her second season on the team.
For the love of football
“My love for football blossomed when I first moved to Mammoth,” Margulies said. “The high school I was at before didn’t have a football team, and Mammoth did.”
Since Margulies couldn’t play football in high school, she sought out other options.
Track and field was her preferred sport, but unfortunately, Mammoth High School didn’t have a team at the time.
Margulies decided to change that.
She scoped out her options and found trainer Andrew Kastor to help her create a team—even if she was the only one on it.
An overwhelming undertaking for most, Margulies took on the task with poise and competed in the long jump, 100m, 200m and 400m.
She placed first in all four events in the league finals, putting the Mammoth Lakes High School Track and Field team—aka Margulies—in third place in its conference.
After graduating from Mammoth with honors, she attended University of Southern California where she competed in track and field at the highly competitive collegiate level and ran the 400m and 800m.
Margulies is a fan of both college football and the NFL. Naturally, as a USC graduate, she’s a USC football fan.
When it comes to the NFL, she’s a cheese head who roots for the 2011 Super Bowl Champions, the Green Bay Packers.
In the 2010 season, Margulies and her team won the LFL championship in Las Vegas. The Lingerie Bowl, which is the championship LFL game, was broadcast as an alternative to the Super Bowl XLV halftime show.
As far as this season goes, Margulies has one more game before the playoffs.
The final game for the L.A. Temptation this season will take place Jan. 19 against Chicago at home (played in Ontario, Calif.).
“This is a must win for us to make it to play offs the following week,” Margulies said.
Playoffs also take place at home on Jan. 29.
When she’s not playing football, Margulies is a trainer at the 24-Hour Fitness in Hermosa. She often visits Mammoth to spend time with family and friends.
Her love of the game is strong and she plans to play in the LFL as long as she can.
“I feel like that there are not many opportunities for women to play tackle football,” Margulies said. “I want to ride it until the wheels fall off.”
For more information on the L.A. Temptation or the LFL in general, visit lflus.com