LOS ANGELES TEMPTATION 2010 STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
Its not how you start but how you finish, this cliche could have been Los Angeles’ fight song in the 2009 season. Despite starting the early off-season as the No.1 ranked team in the LFL Power Ranking Poll, Temptation Nation slid to No. 5 by summer due to off-the-field turmoil amongst the team.
At some point in the off-season several leaders stood up and took charge of the team with a chip on their shoulder being ranked No.5 entering the 2009 / 2010 season despite having a two-time Lingerie Bowl Champion head coach and several veteran players.
Los Angeles opened the season with an impressive second half rally in Denver to win 26-19, scoring 19 unanswered points in the second half. With a great start in Denver confidence was high in Tinseltown heading into a battle with the No.1 ranked Dallas Desire in Big D. In a match-up that many felt would be the Western Conference Playoff Preview, which it was, Los Angeles kept pace with a loaded Dallas roster despite three key turnovers from quarterback Joey Davenport two of them coming in the game’s final two drives resulting in a 24-12 loss.
Following the Dallas game, head coach David ‘Biz’ Bizub made a season-changing decision by benching Davenport for an unproven but promising Ali Eastlake at Quarterback who started a must-win game at home against a tough 2-0 Seattle Mist team. Eastlake shined under the bright lights of LFL, Friday Night Football and led Temptation Nation to a 26-20 win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Seattle game not only gave Los Angeles a much needed win but an identity of being built as a blue-collar run-focused offense and a championship caliber aggressive defense. The focus of the offense started and ended with the ‘Brunette Bandits’ which included RB/LB Monique Gaxiola, RB/Safety Stephanie Psick, RB Alisha Lucik and RB/LB Michele Jacot not to mention a developing franchise Quarterback with Eastlake.
Heading into the final game of the season Los Angeles was not only battling an opponent for a shot at the No.2 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs but also the challenge of having to win by a 33 point margin which no team in the LFL had done all season. Los Angeles came out and delighted the charged up large crowd at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with a 33-0 lead at halftime over San Diego. LA added another 20 points in the 2nd half to win 53-0 and advance to the post-season as arguably the hottest team in the LFL. Temptation Nation was on-fire not just because of the Brunette Bandits but also an incredible front line that was anchored by Defensive End Reese Matthews and a late season addition to the secondary with Christina Coker.
Los Angeles arrived in South Florida Super Bowl Week as the No.4 seed in the LFL Playoffs behind the #3 seed Miami Caliente, #2 seed Dallas Desire and #1 seed Chicago Bliss. The Western Conference Playoff game was not even close as a talented Dallas roster was simply dominated by the interior line of Los Angeles and a running game that cut through Dallas’ defense like a warm knife through butter. Los Angeles shocked the LFL world with a 20-14 win over Dallas to advance to the 2010 Lingerie Bowl as the Western Conference Champions which earned them a match-up against the No.1 seed Chicago Bliss.
The journey of the Los Angeles season had now led them to the biggest stage in the LFL playing before a worldwide audience against the heavily favored Chicago Bliss. Chicago players and coaches gave Los Angeles little respect in media interviews prior to the game and fed the fire of Temptation Nation as Ali Eastlake and the Brunette Bandits matched Chicago blow-for-blow and pulled away late in the 2nd half in route to a 27-14 win. Following the win Coach Bizub promised a return to the big dance in 2011 and the scary fact is, they probably will.
Nearly three months removed from a Lingerie Bowl Championship Los Angeles would have to be considered the favorite to repeat with the return of veteran players and key contributors. The big off-season question in Los Angeles will be do you develop Ali Eastlake into a franchise Quarterback or look for a bigger arm elsewhere?
Strengths – Solid Defense, Running Game, Coaching
Weakness – Lack Of Speed At Wide Receiver, Vertical Passing Game
Impact Players – Monique Gaxiola, Stephanie Psick, Michel Jacot, Alisa Lucik, Christina Coker, Reese Matthews, Ali Eastlake