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Ladies of the Gridiron cover photo

Ladies of the Gridiron 2010


Distributed by Third World Newsreel, 545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018; 212-947-9277
Produced by Jeff Olsen
Directed by Brianna Young
DVD, color, 88 min.

College - General Adult
Sports, Women’s Studies

Date Entered: 12/06/2012

Reviewed by Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State University Libraries, Bowling Green, OH

This video is an interesting look into the world of women’s tackle football. The filmmaker interviews members of the California Quake professional women’s football team who generally are in love with tackle football and hope to make a career playing the game they love. Since the film was made, most Quake personnel have changed including their coach. Meanwhile, the team has become much more successful on the field (10-0 in 2011) than the 2009-2010 team appears to be in game segments included in the film.

Though women’s sports are becoming increasingly more popular, few women can make their living playing women’s team sports in North America. In the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), probably the most successful women’s team league, some 132 players earn between $35,190 (minimum rookie salary) and $101,500 (maximum with 6+ yrs. in league), an average of about $70,000 before bonuses and endorsements. What fuels salaries in the WNBA and in the Independent Women's Football League (IWFL), the Quake’s league, is attendance. At the time of the film, IWFL teams competed for audiences with teams in the Lingerie Football League. Lingerie is a 7-on-7, full-contact, interestingly uniformed but aptly named, women’s arena football league. Lingerie uniforms are shoulder pads, elbow pads, knee pads, garters, bras, panties, and hockey-style helmets. These uniforms leave lots of skin showing. Players tend toward healthy model-types able to pass an occasional “fat check” to maintain their jobs. Naturally, Lingerie games outdrew Quake games. What sells seems to be exposure rather than competition.

This video is recommended. This is the story of competition for an audience. Can a well-marketed semi-pro football team out draw a well-marketed mud wrestling team disguised as a football team? It’s a story well told, but not compelling. Adult language and situations make this a film for college age and older viewers.