Recession or no, Lingerie Football will go on

What we need in these dark times is a symbol of hope.

And lo, upon the horizon . . . behold the emblem of our looming recovery, a harbinger of happy times, proof positive that the great nation of America has the capacity to rise, to rally and, yes, to prevail. The financial crisis be damned. Pessimism be damned. Come the fall of 2009, no matter the economic and societal hardship that endures, the Lingerie Football League will be expanding.

You heard me. While others retrench, the Lingerie Football League—better known as either “the LFL” or “What??”—has announced that it will play its first full season with 10 franchises located in cities across the United States. Sexy ladies in their underpants tackling each other for money? You had a nice run, recession.*

Thong-based football has been with us for a number of years now—about five if you go by actual games; about 68 if you go by Warren Beatty’s waking dream state. In fact, the Lingerie Bowl—typically played on pay-per-view during halftime of the National Football League championship—has long been one of the best parts of Super Bowl Sunday, right up there with the part where John Madden eats the losing team.

But now Mitchell S. Mortaza, LFL Chairman & President—about whom I could reveal many details, though none more telling than the fact he refers to himself as Mitchell S. Mortaza, LFL Chairman & President—wants to take it to the next level: the level where dignity goes to die. More teams, more excitement, more skin. I’m no historian but I believe this ambitious strategy carries echoes of Roosevelt’s plan to extract the American economy from depression—the Petticoat Football League. Who can forget that memorable theme song: Are You Ready For Some Ankle?

Mitchell S. Mortaza’s optimism for the future comes on the heels of his league’s darkest hour—the cancellation of this past February’s Lingerie Bowl. Organizers had planned to broadcast the game from a Florida nudist resort, but shut it down upon discovering that the nudists at the nudist resort planned to attend the game . . . in the nude. (I know, who could have seen that coming? Answer: probably only Einstein.)

“The league will not place our fans, players, staff nor partners in a less-than-comfortable environment that would ultimately jeopardize the mainstream perception and reputation of the brand that so many have worked diligently over these past five years to build,” the league’s spokesman, Stephon McMillen, said at the time.

It’s difficult to put a finger on the most enjoyable part of this, but let’s try. Is it the fact that:

  • the Lingerie Football League actually has a spokesman? (Might as well just keep that thesaurus opened to the page that contains the word “scantily,” fella.)
  • the Lingerie Football League, which places just a tad more emphasis on the “lingerie” than on the “football,” is so uppity and puritan about nudity. (Hot babes mauling each other while wearing 1.2 sq. inches of satin? Perfect. A bum? Outrageous!)
  • upon receiving news of the game’s cancellation via Google Alert, Charlie Sheen likely punched the wall with his fist?

But no one with a middle initial as formidable as Mitchell S. Mortaza is going to dwell on such failures. When life handed him lemons, Mitchell S. Mortaza squeezed the juice all over the heaving bosoms of several hot women, filming it for future promotional use. He insists the new LFL will offer “fast-paced, seven-on-seven, full-contact tackle football featuring some of the country’s most athletic and beautiful women,” a sight previously unavailable to those lacking a closed-circuit feed from Hugh Hefner’s bedroom.

This past week, the Chicago Bliss—and here I’m talking about an LFL team, not Oprah’s mood after two Snickers bars—gathered for a “mini-camp” to work on the game’s fundamentals, including throwing, catching and bikini waxing. Women seeking work lined up to try out for teams in Seattle, Denver and Boston. And the league announced that its 2009 kickoff would be highlighted by “the Ultimate Catfight Tailgate party” featuring “National Recording Artists [and] Celebrities.” Wow—Celebrities will be there? I’m a big fan of that guy Celebrities! I loved him in Major Motion Picture!

Teams for the inaugural LFL season include the San Diego Seduction, the Los Angeles Temptation and the Phoenix Scorch. These names are fine, but one way to really get people engaged is to have a contest to name future expansion teams. I nominate the Oklahoma Groin, the Utah Rack and the New York I Think I Hear My Wife Coming Downstairs So I’m Going to Hurriedly Flip Over to the Weather Network.

* Face it: you expected a stimulus joke here. So did I. We’re both disappointed in me.

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