The Seattle Mist are getting ready to face the L.A. Temptation in the Western Conference Championship match, which will be on Fuse this Saturday night at 9/8c as part of LFL Football Night. Mist quarterback and MVP candidate KK Matheny joined us to chat about the conference championship game, the team’s season, her football life and the LFL as a whole.
Farzin Vousoughian: You’ve played for six years, but have never made it past the conference championship round. How much would it mean to you and your team to finally get that win?
KK Matheny: Every season, you seek to make it here. That is the goal and the biggest step before advancing to the Legends Cup. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to be in the Legends Cup. The only way to get there is to beat the best in the west and to be the best in the west.
FV: What has this week been like?
KM: It is an intense week. We have high energy and we know what we have to do. Knowing we play a good team, like L.A., the intensity is really high.
FV: What reactions do you get when you tell people that you are a quarterback?
KM: It has changed over the six years I have played, which is cool to see reactions change. A lot of times people know and have noticed our sport. They treat it as a professional sport, because that is the way we treat it. People who actually see us on the field have the utmost respect for us and consider us professional athletes. Sometimes the reactions are priceless because they think of women playing football and ask if we hit and tackle. The reactions are funny sometimes, and other times are awesome because some people say they watch us on TV or on YouTube. It’s exciting overall. Our fan base is pretty awesome and the reactions vary.
FV: You have a group of female football players in the locker room, the huddle and on the field. What’s the team like overall?
KM: I think that we get just as intense, if not even more intense than the guys. We are all pretty passionate. We take that passion and we love football. It translates on the field. Our intensity takes up a notch because we take things personally sometimes and want to do really well. Our games and our seasons are different because we play the same opponent a few times. When we play the same team three or four times, our emotions go all over the place. We have built a strong dislike for other teams for sure.
FV: As a quarterback, you get hit a lot. We see guys make big hits to quarterbacks in college and the NFL. What does your family think? How tough is it for them to see you get hit, especially if it leads to an injury?
KM: There’s a mixture sometimes. With any other sport, injuries are part of the game. Any physical activity comes with injuries. Of course with football, you’ll be taking more hits, especially as a quarterback since I take big hits just like all of the girls in our league. My mom and dad, they get worried for me. But I’ve always been the way I am as a competitor, so that’s not going to stop from playing football or any sport. I don’t think about it, but your family and loved ones think about it. My mom and dad are my biggest fans, so they love it, they enjoy it and support it for me, even if it means watching me big hit. But they get excited when I get back up and play.
FV: Lots of guys criticize a quarterback in the NFL when they make a bad decision. You certainly have a different thought process when you see it because you understand the game since you play it. Surely, you know the logistics of the game better than a lot of guys who watch football. Do you ever try to educate your guy friends on why a quarterback made that bad decision?
KM: For sure. I think playing quarterback and growing up around football, I feel like I’ve always had a strong knowledge of the game. Watching with a lot of my guy friends, a lot of times I feel like they have no idea what they are talking about and I know a little bit more than them, which is kind of funny. At the same time, playing at the level that I’ve played at and understanding a game from the quarterback’s perspective, you see it a lot differently. It’s a lot harder when you’re in those shoes. You don’t criticize as much because you understand the decision-making, especially when you have to decide in a couple of quick seconds.
FV: How do you think people view the league and how can it grow?
KM: I think we are on the right track. We were on TV two years ago and it started to go off. We got a different fan base where we would get families and young girls coming up to us and asking for autographs. Having that awareness on TV, especially in the U.S., it is big for our league. I think this year, being back on TV on Fuse, being in the public eye on TV has taken our league back up. We have to keep doing what we are doing. The play on the field has changed a lot since I joined the league with the athletes and the caliber of play. It is second to none. Almost everyone I play with and against are former college athletes, or in the top of any athletic sport they played in their lives, even some Olympic athletes play with us. In order to play in our league, you have to be a good athlete and be on top of your game. We just have to keep that up. Also, I think if we can get on a major network, a bigger network, it would help us grow and get bigger.
FV: If you come across another female athlete, do you try to recruit them to the LFL?
KM: As a competitor, if I see a really athletic female that I feel like could play in the LFL, I’m always willing to give them information on tryouts or I’ll tell them that I think they would fit and ask if they would be interested. I may even try to get them on our team. We are always looking for the next best athlete. At the same time, it has kind of changed to where we are being sought out. A lot of girls are interested in playing in the LFL, and we don’t have to try to recruit. Early in my career, I tried to recruit a lot. Now, I let them know about tryouts and give them the details so they can have a chance to be a part of our league.
FV: I’m sure you and your teammates have discussed MMA fighter Ronda Rousey, who has been one of the most talked about athletes this year. Do you feel like she is the face of female athletics?
KM: I feel like for sure she is. The way she is excelling in her sport, which is in a man-dominated sport, it is inspiring. It’s awesome to see the display she puts on and the attention she gets. I think she is breaking that mold, which is what we are trying to do in the LFL with tackle football, which is also driven by men. I think the publicity she is getting is well deserved. Women can be feminine, but they can be strong and athletic. That’s what I love about her, that she is empowering. That is how I am and a lot of the girls in our league are. We want to show the world that we can be feminine, but we can be athletic and half muscles while also being beautiful.
Facebook: KK Matheny LFL
Farzin Vousoughian covers sports and entertainment on No Coast Bias. You can follow him on Twitter @Farzin21.