Christy Bell part of rare quarterback club for women

In the aftermath of the 2013 Legends Cup, Christy Bell has accomplished two milestones in LFL history. Having led the Philadelphia Passion to their third consecutive championship game appearance, she joins Ashley Salerno of the Los Angeles Temptation as only the second LFL quarterback to lead her team to three straight appearances.

Unfortunately, she also holds the dubious distinction of being the first to lose three LFL title games in a row. Despite joining the likes of NFL quarterbacks like Y.A. Tittle and Jim Kelly who have lost three or more in a row, it still takes a special quarterback to be able to lead a team to the title game.

During the 2013 LFL season, she accumulated 392 passing yards with a 59.3 completion percentage. Complemented by 11 touchdowns and four interceptions, the 27 year-old was the ideal field general for the Passion.

Ironically, Bell was not the only female quarterback to lead her team to its third straight title game in 2013. This year alone, three different female quarterbacks appeared in their respective league’s championship game for the third consecutive season.

Joining Bell was Candace Bloomquist from the Western Women’s Canadian Football League’s Saskatoon Valkyries and Alex Black with the Capital Area Lady Gladiators in the Maritime Women’s Football League. All three are part of a rare quarterback club for women.

Since the formation of the Women’s Professional Football League in 1999, the modern era of women’s football in North America was born. With it, there have been four other teams that have managed to make it three title games in a row.

The WPFL can boast the Houston Energy (2000-02) as the first modern day team to win three titles in a row. Following them, were the Dallas Diamonds from 2004-06, led by Karen Seimears at quarterback.

During this time, another league, the Women’s Football Association featured Kim Grodus and the Detroit Demolition win titles from 2003-05. While no team in the current Women’s Football Alliance has won three in a row, the Independent Women’s Football League had the Sacramento Sirens claim titles from 2003-05.

While Bell is the only member of this club to have not won a championship, it does not take away from her skills as an elite football player. Although the burden of losing is one that can overwhelm a player, sometimes overshadowing the greatest accomplishments in their career, it is those moments when a player deserves to be celebrated for their career and not just a particular moment.

In the end, a win or a loss is just a snapshot in time. Although Bell is the first modern day women’s football quarterback to endure three straight championship game losses, it is also part of a bigger picture which portrays Bell as a leader and a tenacious player who never gave up.

Tale of the 2013 LFL Championship Tape: Christy Bell and Heather “Rockstar” Furr

Heading into the 2013 Legends Cup, two of the hardest working quarterbacks in the league shall get the opportunity to claim their first-ever title. Christy Bell of the Philadelphia Passion has played in the LFL title game in 2011 and 2012, coming up short both times at the hands of the Los Angeles Temptation. Heather “Rockstar” Furr is a multiple LFL All-Fantasy selection looking to bring the Chicago Bliss franchise a title.


In terms of numbers, Furr holds a key advantage as a rusher. She has accumulated 138 rushing yards with a sparkling 4.5 yards per carry. Bell is more of a pocket passer, having only logged 31 yards on only 16 rushing attempts.

Having led the Philadelphia Passion to their third consecutive conference championship, Christy Bell is an accurate passer with the ability to pick apart a defense. With a 55.3 passing percentage, she has thrown for 277 yards and eight touchdown passes, while only being intercepted twice. Her postseason experience gives her a key advantage against Furr.

Bell scrambling for yardage (Image obtained from Facebook)

Bell scrambling for yardage (Image obtained from Facebook)

In comparison, Furr has thrown for less yardage (219 yards) and fewer touchdowns (five) but has not been intercepted once. While her completion percentage is slightly higher than Bell’s, her advantage is the ability to excel in the running game.

While Bell has a stronger focus on offense (playing almost exclusively as quarterback), Furr is not afraid to pull double duty on the LFL gridiron. Also competing as a safety, it is very possible that she could intercept one of Bell’s passes. Should she manage to pick off her opposing quarterback, it could spell the difference between winning and losing.

Furr’s path to the championship game was one filled with drama and redemption. After an opening night loss against the three-time defending champion Los Angeles Temptation, the season could have easily collapsed. Instead, the Bliss finished unbeaten for the remainder of the regular season.

Victories against Nikki Johnson’s Las Vegas Sin (34-12 on May 10) and division rival Minnesota (25-12 on July 26) placed Chicago in the hunt for a playoff spot. With an emotional road game against Anne “Showtime” Erler and the Green Bay Chill (Furr and Erler were teammates in LFL Canada), Furr emerged victorious with a 27-18 win.

One of the most emotional images in LFL history. Christy Bell distraught after a 26-25 loss to the LA Temptation in 2011 (Photo credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

One of the most emotional images in LFL history. Christy Bell distraught after a 26-25 loss to the LA Temptation in 2011 (Photo credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The first postseason game saw Furr with the opportunity to redeem herself against the Los Angeles Temptation. With the match in Chicago once more, Furr was matched up against LA’s championship quarterback Ashley Salerno. Exacting revenge for the opening night loss with a 19-12 victory, Furr brought an end to the Temptation’s dynasty.

Bell warming up prior to the 2012 LFL Championship game (Photo: Ethan Miller Getty Images)

Bell warming up prior to the 2012 LFL Championship game (Photo: Ethan Miller Getty Images)

Ironically, Bell’s postseason also ran parallel to Furr’s. While Bell gave a strong performance with touchdown passes to Lindsay Nadonly and Lauren La Bella, Philadelphia’s first game of the season ended in a 20-19 loss to the Baltimore Charm.

Bell would get her rematch against Baltimore in the postseason as the two played for the right to be named Eastern Conference champions. Facing a 13-0 deficit at halftime, Bell engineered a comeback that resulted in scoring the game-tying touchdown in the game’s dying seconds. In another 20-19 final, Bell would lead Philadelphia to their third straight conference title.

During practice at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois (Image by Rich Hein, Chicago Sun Times)

During practice at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois (Image by Rich Hein, Chicago Sun Times)

Competing against the undefeated Seattle Mist in the conference championship game, Furr and her Bliss teammates also faced an underdog situation. Although the Mist were competing in their first-ever postseason match, expectations were high as Seattle boasted a powerful offense. While Laurel Creel matured into a fine quarterback for the Mist, her inexperience showed against the seasoned Furr as Chicago emerged with a 31-14 win.

While Philadelphia’s Marirose Roach employs a lateral style which adequately handles the running duties for the Passion (she has logged 450 rushing yards), Bell’s strength is the ability to find receivers in pressure situations. While Maegan Larsen (Philly’s receiving leader) has also lined up behind centre, she utilizes the position to take direct snap runs, another unique aspect of the Passion’s offense.

While the rushing and defensive strengths of Furr give her the advantage over Bell, the 2013 LFL postseason has been defined by upsets and unexpected outcomes. Regardless of the outcome on September 1, the unfolding history of LFL brings with it the opportunity for another elite quarterback to be named champion.