Elite quarterback Nikki Johnson finding new life with Las Vegas in WFA

Having carved a legacy as one of the greatest players in the history of the Legends Football League, Nikki Johnson is starting a new legacy with the Las Vegas Showgirlz of the Women’s Football Alliance. One of the first female football stars in the American Southwest, Johnson (who once worked as an intern for NFL Films) is living up to her potential as a top-notch passer in the ultra competitive WFA.

For Johnson, 2014 is not only the opportunity to turn over a new leaf, but it represents the chance to prove that her talents, charisma and athletic ability make her worthy of calling herself an elite quarterback. After a difficult 2013, in which Johnson, the starting quarterback for the Las Vegas Sin, admired among teammates and foes alike, used her star power to express concerns over player safety, Johnson was no longer welcome in LFL circles.

Unfair to say the least, Las Vegas Sin fans and players were cheated out of the privilege of being able to watch Johnson compete again. On more than one occasion, Johnson sacrificed her physical well-being in order to help her teams compete in both LFL US and LFL Canada. Despite playing with pain, Johnson always signed an autograph and made herself accessible to fans, the signs of a great athlete.

This season, she has shown that the LFL’s loss is clearly the WFA’s gain. Her dedication, character and desire to win are elements that have helped transform the Las Vegas Showgirlz into the new attraction in women’s football for Sin City residents. Showing versatility, Johnson would even compete at Wide Receiver, grabbing seven receptions for 92 yards and one touchdown. She would also compile 142 rushing yards (to rank third on the Showgirlz) while registering three rushing touchdowns, testament to her athleticism.

Behind Johnson, the Showgirlz rebounded from a difficult 0-2 start to finish the regular season with six consecutive wins and a playoff berth. Their 6-2 mark resulted in a first place finish in the Pacific West division, one of six teams in the WFA’s AFC Conference to earn at least 6 wins. Victories against the Arizona Assassins, Nevada Storm and West Coast Lightning resulted in the club scoring more than 50 points in each win.

Statistically, Johnson is nothing short of impressive. Her efforts in the passing game have helped the Showgirlz compile the third best passing game in the entire WFA. Averaging 211.2 passing yards per game, only the Dark Angels and the Militia have gone to the air more often. This was complemented by an average of 38.7 points per game, ranking seventh overall in the entire WFA. In addition, the squad has averaged 349.3 yards per game, finishing with an impressive fifth overall ranking, while eclipsing the 2,000 total yard mark.

Against the other top pivots in the league, Johnson has made a strong case for WFA All-America consideration. One of only eight WFA quarterbacks with at least 10 touchdown passes in regular season play, Johnson’s passer rating of 115.0 ranked fourth in the regular season, trailing the likes of Allison Cahill, Melissa Gallegos and Katie Sowers. In terms of passing yardage, Johnson’s 759 passing yards ranked eighth overall with her longest pass of the season a 71-yarder.

While the next edition of the IFAF Women’s World Football Championships is still three years away, the potential to see Johnson mature and develop into an even better field general over these three years must put her on USA Football’s radar. With her great speed, complemented by versatility as a receiver (a position she has experience playing), she deserves serious consideration as one to watch for a spot on the US team in 2017.


Author: markstaffieri

A proud supporter of women in sport. My influences in covering women's sport include Andria Hunter and Jaclyn Hawkins. Both are former women’s hockey players who created their own websites, providing a deeper insight for their respective sport. Unable to identify with multi-millionaire male athletes, the role of women in sport is one that provides inspiration while preserving the spirit of sportsmanship. My first exposure to women and sport came through Geraldine Heaney and her legendary goal at the 1990 Women's World Hockey Championships. By composing player profiles on women from all sports, it is my opportunity to give back to the female sporting community by showing gratitude for their hard work and effort. While women's hockey opened the door to a larger yet remarkable world of sport, the quantum leap in women's football and global growth of women's basketball have only helped to fuel my interest in the female game. Some of the athletes that I admire include Caroline Ouellette and Natalie Spooner (hockey), Lolo Jones (track), Connie Fekete and Sami Grisafe (football) plus Anne Erler and Heather Furr (LFL football). Other athletes consist of Sue Bird and Katie Smith (basketball) along with Barbara Mervin and Heather Moyse (rugby). In addition to my efforts on WordPress, I have also contributed to Bleacher Report, the Canadian Women's Hockey League, Hockey Canada, LFL Canada and Women's Hockey Life.

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