Monday, June 24, 2013 | 5:37 p.m.
It was a thrills-and-spills, rough-and-tumble, take-no-prisoners, rocky roller coaster, back-and-forth football game. From start to finish, it was nonstop action, fighting, tugging and tackling when our Las Vegas Sin smothered The Green Bay Chill at their debut home game in The Orleans Arena on Saturday.
The Sin have won back respect in the newly named Legends of Football League. They started out ahead, and every time their rivals tied it up, the Sin punched back to move ahead again. The name has changed from Lingerie Football League, but these gorgeous girls of the gridiron are still in the briefest of bikini outfits for the sock ’em, rock ’em and pound ’em action.
Three of our Sin sizzlers became legends with their awesome antics. Middle linebacker Danika Brace had the best performance of her career and deservedly won game MVP. Nikki Johnson proved yet again why she’s a star with a 35-yard run, but it was Cassandra Strickland who performed par excellence, catching the ball while going head over heels atop a safety barrier and into the stands. She was uninjured and yelled in triumph that she’d held on to the ball.
That acrobatic, spread-eagle master move quickly led to the game-winning touchdown, and the Sin triumphed 40-32. The Sin squashed pre-game rumors that they’d fold to Western Conference powerhouse Chill with its top-ranked offense coming in from a 40-8 win over Minnesota, with Chill quarterback Anne Erier and wide receiver Anne Heasman leading league scoring.
Sin rookie head coach Jeremiah Captain proved that he could lead his team and showed Nikki, Cassandra, Danika and Maddie McCoy were a frightening force of four. Running back Carmen Boursea plowed through the Green Bay defense from the get-go. In the stands, two-time defending champion Los Angeles Temptation players and coaching staff watched what they’ll face when the Sin travel there for their next game.
Our hometown crowd was disappointingly small but enthusiastic, erupting at the Sin’s play. Let’s get more support for our hometown heroes now that EDC has left town. A tip of the hat and thanks to LFL’s Marcus De La Fuente for providing reporting to assist my commentary. He described the duel of Nikki and Anna as the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning matchup of the LFL. He even went so far as to predict the Sin’s performance made them worthy for the playoffs.
Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his amazing action shots. On Tuesday, the Las Vegas-headquartered LFL will release this fall’s LFL Canada expansion schedule starting Sept. 14. It follows this year’s debut of LFL Australia, and eventually Europe in 2015 and Asia.
Mitch Mortaza, founder and chairman of LFL, said: “Our sport is now global. We reached a crossroad of gaining credibility as a sport or continuing to be viewed as a gimmick, thus the name change. In order to reach the next milestone, the focus is on the sport and our amazing athletes.”
LFL is now carried on NBC Sports to 85 countries. The sensational Sin play L.A. at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario on Saturday and then return to The Orleans Arena for their next home game against The Seattle Mist on July 20.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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True to its namesake, The Orleans gives visitors a year-round Mardi Gras feeling with a New Orleans French Quarter environment.
Located just a short way from the center of gambling on the Strip, The Orleans offers a collection of attractions that helps to draw in a mix of locals and visitors.
In addition to the 1,885 hotel rooms and 134,000-square foot casino, the property has a 70-lane bowling center, an 18-screen movie theater, an 850-seat showroom and a 9,500-seat arena, home to the Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team.
The hotel also has 14 dining options, including Canal Street, The Prime Rib Loft, Koji Sushi Bar & China Bistro and Big Al’s Oyster Bar.
The Orleans Arena, a Boyd Gaming facility located just west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the nation’s leading mid-sized arenas, and was recently ranked No. 1 in the United States and No. 5 internationally among venues of similar size by Venues Today Magazine.
The Arena hosts more than 200 events each year, including concerts by top names like Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Van Halen, Brooks & Dunn, Black Eyed Peas, Akon and Rihanna; family favorites like The Harlem Globetrotters and Circus Spectacular; and a wide variety of sporting events, including NCAA basketball tournaments, the West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference Basketball Championships, mixed martial arts with Superior Cage Combat, and major motorsports events.
The arena serves as home to the Las Vegas Wranglers professional ECHL hockey team, the Las Vegas Legends professional indoor soccer team, and the Lingerie Football League’s Las Vegas Sin. Stay connected to the Orleans Arena on Facebook (www.facebook.com/orleansarena) and on Twitter (@orleansarena).