(DENVER, CO. – Saturday, April 29) There is always optimism when it comes to Opening Day of any sport and certainly any team. However, with expansion franchises, that optimism is often baked in with anxiety because of the unknown. As the LFL’s Denver Dream franchise prepared for its return to the sport, hosting its franchise and season-opener at home in Loveland, Colorado, perhaps there was more anxiety versus hope and optimism.

Anxiety because the head coach Carlos Bates lacked any significant experience, there was no franchise caliber Quarterback under center and the defense was very small in stature. The most obvious reason for alarm was a match-up versus the Legends Cup champion, Chicago Bliss.

For Chicago, not only was there optimism coming into the game, but there was a confidence bordering on arrogance – understanding this may be the best assembled roster in the history of the LFL. Not only are all key starters from the 2016 championship season returning, with the exception of the suspended Jacinda Barclay, but big-name All-Fantasy players like Alli Alberts and Nneka Kwani where returning. Defensively, Chicago is the first LFL team in history with a line-up consisting of 6 out of its 7 starters being current or former All-Fantasy players.

While it was snowing outside, inside the Budweiser Events Center fans anxiously awaited their first LFL game experience and a look at their Denver Dream. Unfortunately, from the first snap, it became apparent that Denver’s dream would become a nightmare.

The Dream were out-matched in every phase of the game, including coaching. The defensive front of Chicago which included 2016 ‘Defensive Player of the Year’, Kristin Morrison alongside long-time All-Fantasy defensive ends Chantal Taylor and Nneka Kwani threw around the Denver offensive front line, like rag dolls. First year Dream quarterback Zshalyn Canfield could not take two steps from center without dodging Chicago defenders. When Denver adjusted to a shot-gun formation, Dream center Lindsey Fields sailed multiple snaps well over Canfield’s 5ft 4 inch reach.

With an average scoring drive of 10.3yds, Chicago’s offense now headed by another Aussie quarterback in Jayne Caldwell, took firm control, racking up five 1st half touchdowns on the ground. Caldwell showed her versatility scoring twice, while Javell Thompson added another two and The Ferrari, ChrisDell Harris adding another score. Chicago had a commanding 40-6 lead at Halftime.

The bright spot for Denver was the elusive running of Canfield and the emergence of Mallorie McDowell as a receiving option, the two connected for what ended up being the sole Denver score of the game, in the 2nd Quarter.

In the 2nd half, if Denver were a racehorse, they would have put it down, Chicago established new franchise highs outscoring Denver 53-0 en route to a 93-6 win. The most lopsided win in LFL history.

No one expected Denver to be able to compete with Chicago, however, not many have seen an LFL team simply roll-over and wave the white flag. It was truly an embarrassing night for the sport, the brand and the Denver franchise.

The road does not get much easier for Denver as it prepares to head to the Pacific Northwest to battle the other 2016 Legends Cup team, the Seattle Mist. Chicago now eagerly awaits the only team many believe can challenge a 4th Bliss Legends Cup appearance, the Atlanta Steam on June 3rd at Toyota Park (Bridgeview, IL.)

Chicago Denver
Score 93 6
First Downs 15 6
Rushes-Yards (Net) 19-140 33-3
Passing Yards (Net) 24 25
Passes Att-Comp-Int 7-2-0 19-5-3
Total Offense Plays-Yards 26-164 52-28
Fumble Returns-Yards 0-0 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards 1-17 0-0
Interception Returns-Yards 3-26 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 4-2
Penalties-Yards 4-22 3-13
Possession Time 15:56 18:34
Third-Down Conversions 2/3 3/12
Fourth-Down Conversions 1/1 0/8
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 4/4 1/1