With the recent announcement that the Legends Football League is going to induct its first member into the LFL Hall of Fame in 2014, it is a great step towards acknowledging the efforts of the players and coaches who helped to build the league. The key qualification for nomination was a minimum of four years service in the LFL. Of the four nominees that have been mentioned, only one shall become the first inductee on September 4, 2014.
Each one of the nominees is sure to augment debate as to which should become the first to have their presence grace the hallowed Hall. Los Angeles Temptation head coach David Bizub is truly in a league of his own. The first man to be nominated for the LFL Hall of Fame, he led the Temps to three LFL titles. It would be tremendously ironic if the first inductee in a league devoted to female athletics was a man.
As the head coach of the first dynasty in LFL history, it comes as no surprise that one of his players is also part of the list of nominees. Monique Gaxiola, the 2013 winner of the LFL US Mortaza Award joins her head coach for consideration. A member of all three championship teams, Gaxiola was an essential building block on their punishing defense. In addition to being the first person of Hispanic origin to be nominated for the Hall, she will also be competing in the inaugural season of LFL Australia in December 2013.
Heather Furr becomes the first quarterback to gain consideration for the Hall. Having helped the Chicago Bliss to their first Legends Cup in 2013 (which makes Chicago the first city to have won an LFL and WFA title in the same year), Furr was also honored as the league’s Most Outstanding Player. Of note, Furr’s nomination also represents another unique bit of history. Of the four nominees, she is the only one that has also played in LFL Canada. Should Furr earn the induction, it would mark the first time an inductee has played in both the US and Canadian branches of the league.
One of Furr’s opponents in the 2013 LFL title game was Philadelphia Passion running back Marirose Roach. A former winner of the league’s Most Oustanding Player and Offensive Player of the Year honors, she is one of the most accomplished players in league history. As the first running back and first African-American nominee for the Hall, Roach has helped the Passion to three consecutive appearances in the LFL title game.
Undoubtedly, the presence of the LFL Hall of Fame will lead to fan discussions as to which player deserves the nod and the argument over stats and championships. A ritual that is certainly part of the sporting conversation, it is an element that will also lead to many fans speculating on future nominees. For example, who will be the first defensive back or offensive lineman considered for the Hall? Or, which player from Cleveland or Jacksonville will ever get a nod?
The debate over position and franchise nominees is one that is likely to grow. Should the league continue to flourish over the years, perhaps the list of nominees or inductees will have to expand. There is no question that players such as Green Bay’s Anne Erler, Nikki Johnson of Las Vegas, Seattle’s Jessica Hopkins (who also played in LFL Canada) along with former Tampa player Liz Gorman will earn their opportunity one day.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of LFL Hall is the fact that the 2014 inductee will be an active member of the league. Should one of the players earn the nod, it would be reminiscent of former Seattle Seahawks superstar Shawn Alexander. When he played at the high school level, his number was retired while he still played. The thought of a Hall of Fame inductee as an active player is a unique rarity in sport. One that has been recently seen was in the NHL when Mario Lemieux came out of retirement in 2005.