Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 5/29/13
Gilbert Brown already knows what you're thinking in regards to his line of work. He has heard the jokes about coaching in a women's football league that values sex appeal, scantily clad players and entertainment as much as the final score. His response? Just give the league a chance. It might change your opinion. "I always tell somebody to go in there with an open mind," Brown told FOXSportsWisconsin.com. "Once you go in and see a game, it'll change the perception of the game. When you go in there and sit down, you're thinking, 'OK, these girls are half-naked.' But when you get out there and see the game and watch them play and see how they hit and see how they get after it, that is very intriguing." Brown, a former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle, is in his second season as head coach of the Green Bay Chill an unusual role for a man once so feared his playing nickname was "The Gravedigger." His position is worlds away from the one he occupied at Lambeau Field, even as he leads a team that literally competes in the shadows of his former employer. The Chill play at the Resch Center, located just one mile from Lambeau. "It's a lot of work," Brown said. "I think it makes you a better coach because some of the girls don't know a lick of football and some do. You've really got to put your coaching hat on for this." The Green Bay Chill are part of the Legends Football League, a full-contact 7-on-7 indoor football venture. Unlike other indoor leagues, the uniforms are drastically different. Players wear ice hockey-style helmets, shoulder pads, elbow pads and knee pads, but the rest of the uniform consists of a sports bra and volleyball-style shorts. Given the risqu outfits, which resemble little of the NFL style, players recognize it is easy for casual observers to dismiss the team and the league. "People's reactions that you play is exactly like you think it would be," said Chill quarterback Anne Erler, a Green Bay native. "They're like, 'Oh, I know that league.' You say, 'Oh did you ever watch it?' Our girls keep phone clips and YouTube clips of our big hits on the phone for that reason in general if you do have to defend something." Added Chill wide receiver Anna Heasman: "I do spend a little bit of time sort of trying to justify the league and justify it to myself to say we're not horrible people. We're all dedicated athletes and we're all mothers and wives and we all have professions. We work bloody hard. On the whole, everyone is pretty embracing of it and they think it's pretty exciting." Heasman, an Australia native with a rugby and track background, lives in Milwaukee and is one of 15 players on the team. Players hold full-time jobs during the week Heasman, for example, performs medical ultrasounds at a local hospital so they practice either in Milwaukee or the Green Bay area on weekends. Practices generally last four hours on Saturday and four more hours on Sunday, which makes for a serious time commitment without compensation. Brown, who previously coached the La Crosse Spartans of the Indoor Football League, said his Chill team's playbook consisted of roughly 50 plays. And while the league has had its share of critics it has been called sexist and distasteful, among other descriptors players insist there is a small shift that is taking place. The Legends Football League was founded in 2009 by Mitch Mortaza and was originally called the Lingerie Football League. Fans may recall its "Lingerie Bowl" being featured as a Pay-Per-View halftime special during the Super Bowl. Before the 2013 season, however, the league underwent a rebranding of sorts by changing the name of the league. "The term lingerie instills a lot of negative connotations with a lot of people," Heasman said. "A lot of fans were turned off. Particularly females. I guess the aim is to really clean up the image and the rebranding, so they obviously removed the lingerie word and replaced it with legends. They did modify the uniform. They got rid of the garter and some of the frills and lace to be a bit more basic. It's more like an athletic uniform. It's similar to what I wore when I competed in track." Once the games begin, players say it is just as physical as anything fans will see on any other football field. Erler noted she had suffered "a couple concussions" and was experiencing muscle and tendon damage in her quad and calf from Green Bay's second game of the 2013 season against the Minnesota Valkyrie. Green Bay defeated Minnesota 40-8 and is 1-1 this season. The Chill play two more regular season games in June and August. Hard hits certainly help to keep fans intrigued, but Erler and Heasman can't deny what pushes folks through the turnstiles right now is the league's sex appeal. Athleticism is an important part of making the team, but so is being trim and pleasing to the cameras. Erler is hoping fans will realize the league has more to offer down the road. "At this point, everything has to have an entertainment aspect or people aren't going to show up," Erler said. "We have to think of it like that. "In the first couple years the league was out there, it wasn't purely entertainment. That's why they were bringing in fans is because of what they wore. The last really two years and what we're transitioning into is going to be to get our fans to come there for the game, which has been happening this year more and more. That rebranding is going to do nothing but I think help that." At the very least, the league appears to be on solid footing as it attempts to rebrand. In addition to the 12 teams that compete in the United States league, there are four Canadian teams and four Australian teams. Heasman indicated a future goal is to create a sort of World Cup that includes even more countries. For now, the Chill will continue to build up their fan base. Fans may show up for the players' looks, but Brown hopes they'll stay for the quality product on the field. "It's a great atmosphere," Brown said. "And I encourage you, before you sit down and judge, you need to go watch a game." Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dallas Cowboys' team employee bus involved in fatal crash

Aldon Smith posts video under a pseudonym of a blunt on Periscope

WATCH: Cam Newton get blocked by a girl playing volleyball

Russia avoids complete ban from Rio Olympics by the IOC

Report: Padres trying to move Andrew Cashner, Derek Norris

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Baseball's top prospect called up to majors by Astros

Report: Braves 'aggressively' shopping Francoeur, Aybar

Report: Hue Jackson designing plays for Terrelle Pryor

Report: Darnell Dockett expected to announce retirement

Report: Yankees have not discussed releasing A-Rod

Report: D-Backs making Shelby Miller available via trade

Cristiano Ronaldo spars with Conor McGregor in gym

Adam Silver is the new standard-bearer for league commisioners

Iowa football player held at gunpoint by police while playing Pokemon Go

Eight most significant injuries going into NFL training camp

Man. U players banned from playing 'Pokemon Go?'

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker