In our current swimsuit issue, we featured a player profile on Amber Barrick, Legends Football Players player for the Jacksonville Breeze. But lucky for us, we were able to also sit down with another player, Mariah Tiona.
Mariah is the 20 year old QB for the Jax Breeze that’s been playing football for a total of 7 years with two years under her belt in the LFL.
With a new team in a new city, Mariah’s clearly looking forward to her future in the LFL…
How did you get started with the LFL?
I have always known about the LFL throughout high school and always wanted to do it and then I got to talking with one of my co-workers and found out that she used to play for the Vegas team. My interest was sparked immediately and ended up trying out and made itJ!
How long have you played football?
I have been playing football for about 6 years. I started my freshman year of high school and played 4 years varsity flag football for my school and now I play for the LFL.
You are currently the QB of the Jacksonville Breeze, have you always played QB or was there another position that initially started your interest?
I have always been the QB for the LFL but when I played in high school I would switch off at QB to play receiver and I also played safety and was the kicker.
What do you say to those who think the LFL is just an exploitation of women?
Being a part of the LFL is empowering because we are real athletes that can be tough on the field in addition to being sexy! While it would be easy to don a traditional uniform, it takes great courage to wear a sports bra and panties in front of thousands of fans.
Also, for all of the people that complain about the uniform, where were these grievers during the 2012 London Summer Olympics? Women’s beach volleyball was discussed by male and female sports reporters as being the most popular event of the Games. The sexy (and nearly nothing there) outfits were a key aspect.
There are a plethora of women’s sports that are sexy not only beach volleyball but also tennis, gymnastic, and competitive cheerleading. All of these sports have a sex appeal to them and yet no one says anything about that. I love playing for the LFL and I will stand up against all the haters who talk downward about the league.
What’s the most grueling part about playing in the LFL? Injuries, travel schedules, etc…
The most grueling part about the LFL is not the injuries or travel schedules but travel in general. I commute four times a week for a 45 minute drive which is a lot of gas money considering I’m a full time student and I also work a part time job. I’m always on the go and always trying to save a buck but in the end it is all worth it because I get to play the sport that I love!
Who would you consider is the Breeze’s biggest rival team?
Our biggest rival team would have to be the Philadelphia Passion.
How does the team look this year? Think you will make a return back to the playoffs?
The team looks stronger than ever and I’m extremely confident that our team will return back to the playoffs.
How do you feel about the move from Tampa to Jacksonville?
I’m a little sad because I love Tampa but actually the move doesn’t affect because I will be transferring to UNF which is in Jacksonville so everything worked out for the best! However, I’m sad that our team will be breaking up because I love these girls they are my family and I love playing with each and every one of them!
Obviously you ladies are pretty tough but also keep your femininity, how do you think the LFL differs from other women’s sports and what do you think the future holds for it?
I think that the LFL will be around for a very long time because it allows women to play at a professional level. Most of the LFL players are college athletes and after college most do not move on to a higher level of play. Personally, since I know I won’t be going to the Olympics anytime soon I’m extremely grateful for the LFL because my world revolves around football! It has always been my passion!
How the heck do you keep your “goods” from coming out while you play? Is the uniform designed a specific way to keep that from happening or do you just have to hope you don’t give the crowd a “show”?
The uniform is designed in a specific way to keep our “goodies” in our tops. Also, we are required to wear a nude bra and panties along with pasties. We take all the necessary precautions but still hope that the audience will not get a “show”!
What’s your favorite part of the uniform?
My favorite part of the uniform is our helmet and shoulder pads because they keep me protected.
Do you watch football other than the LFL? If so, what teams do you follow and why?
Yes, I grew up watching football and I’m obsessed with the Miami Dolphins. Yes, I know hate all you want! I was born and raised in Boca Raton, FL so as a family we would always go and watch games and the Dolphins just grew on me.
Favorite thing to do while not playing football?
When I’m not playing football I’m either line dancing, at the gun range, working out, at the beach or teaching Zumba.
What’s the greatest moment you have had while playing football?
The greatest moment that I have had while playing football would have to be my senior year of high school when I played in the NFL girls flag football showcase during the super bowl. There was 5 seconds left on the clock and we were 10 yards from the end zone. The QB lodged it up and I ended up catching it for the game winning touchdown!
How complex were the plays/coverages you ladies were running last year? Has it changed for this year?
The plays/coverage that we were running last year was extremely complex. Yes, our plays and coverage’s have changed this year but for the better. We have a new defensive coach who has redesigned the whole defense and on offense we are focusing on specialty plays.
What’s your favorite play to run?
My favorite play to run is a Hail Mary trickshot play where I’m able to just bomb the ball 40 yards down the field.
Have you ever received a “knock-out shot” from an opposing player?
Yes, the very first game I ever played I ran the ball and got tackled by about 2 or 3 girls. It was definitely a pile up.
What was the ratio of guys to girls in attendance at the games?
I’m not quite sure but there are an abundant amount of girls in the audience. I would say maybe one girl to every two guys.
If you could change anything about the LFL, what would you change and why?
I wouldn’t change anything about the league. I love everything that the league is about and the LFL on its own is evolving and changing every year.
How do you feel about the changing of the league name and tagline? Do you think it will help or hurt the future of the brand?
I absolutely love the change! The league is moving in the right direction and with the league name and tagline changed we can now be taken a little more seriously and the league can gain credibility as a sport rather than being thought of as a gimmick. I think that the change can only help the league grow stronger. We still show our bodies but now we just wear performance gear and have better padding to protect ourselves.
What do you like about the new uniforms compared to the previous uniform?
I like the fact that we have better padding for our shoulders because getting tackled is not fun.
Special thanks to Mariah for agreeing to interview with us. Be sure to check out the Breeze’s last game of the season on Saturday May 25th in Jacksonville.