The Atlanta Steam finished their inaugural season as members of the Legends Football League, formerly known as the Lingerie Football League, on August 17 with a hard fought, 28-20 loss in the LFL Divisional Round to the Philadelphia Passion in the first game of Divisional Doubleheader Saturday in Chicago. The ladies of the Steam accomplished much in their first year in the league, including winning the Southeastern Division Championship.
The team made dramatic improvements since they first gathered on a cold October day last year as a group of individuals with little collective football knowledge and began building a team under the tutelage of rookie head coach Ray Norell. The Steam began the season with the same three goals as all other LFL teams; first win their Division, then win their Conference, and finally the Legends Cup. The Steam came within nine points of achieving the first two. For a team that was projected to go winless in their first season by those that set the LFL Power Rankings, and opened the season back on March 30 by getting hammered 48-0 by the Jacksonville Breeze on the road, achieving any of the preseason goals seemed a long shot.
It was during the two-weeks between the loss to the Breeze and the home opener against the Omaha Heart that Atlanta began to come together as a team. Norell and his staff decided major changes were needed after the opening night drubbing and installed a new offensive scheme that became the base for his offense the rest of the season.
Atlanta played a very physical game to intimidate Omaha, and used the new triple-option style attack to hang 42 points on the Heart D on the way to a 42-6 victory in the first home game of their history.
The offense used the two months between the second and third game to work on the new offense and was hitting on all cylinders when the Cleveland Crush visited The Arena at Gwinnett Center on May 18. Quarterback Brittany Morgan led the Atlanta offense to 49 points, and they needed every one of them as Cleveland refused to give up continued to battle after falling behind by two scores early. The Steam came out on top, 49-40, to improve to 2-1-0.
Atlanta was scheduled to make a trip to Philly on July 13 to face off with the Passion, but that game was cancelled by the league office and both teams were awarded a tie. Atlanta waited and watched the remainder of the LFL regular season play out and was rewarded for their hard work and effort with the LFL Southeastern Division Championship.
The Baltimore Charm finished the season atop both the Northeastern Division and the Eastern Conference at 3-1, earning a bye to the Conference Championship Game. The Steam and Passion both posted 2-1-1 marks to earn the trip to the postseason as the Nos. 2 and 3 teams. Due to point differential, Philly (+8) was seeded second, while Atlanta (-3) was third. Players on both sides were happy about finally getting to play each other after having been disappointed about the cancellation of the regular season contest.
As was expected, both teams played hard and showed tremendous heart but Atlanta had three costly fumbles and the defense could not contain Roach, which resulted in the Passion advancing to the Conference Championship last week against the Charm. The Passion downed the Charm and will play in their third straight LFL Championship Game.
2013 Season Highlights:
-Atlanta wins the Southeastern Division Championship after finishing 2-1-1
- Coco Montgomery (TE/DE) was chosen as a First Team offensive member, and a Second Team defensive player for the LFL Eastern All-Fantasy Team.
-Sharlene Fuller (S) and Brittney Sharp (CB) were both First Team defensive selections for the squad.
The Steam play home games at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.