Interview with LFL football player Niki Ghazian: Part 2 Interviewed by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - July 2010
Niki Ghazian, is living her athletic, business, social, and modeling dream all at the same time. However, now she has added a huge credential to her resume that will live on forever, she is an LFL champion in women's professional football. Let's see what this champion bombshell had to say about her amazing journey to the top of LFL!
CRITICAL BENCH: Niki, before the LFL season started I picked the right LFL girl to interview (www.criticalbench.com/LFL_Football_Niki_Ghazian.htm) Not only are you living your social, professional, modeling and athletic dream, but you're a world champion now as well! Before the LFL season started did you in your most wild dreams foresee yourself as an LFL champion??
Yes Ben, it was our goal from day one to win the Lingerie Bowl & everything we did this season was geared towards being the best in the league. We had been training hard for almost a year and before the season started. During the preseason we were ranked #1 in the league so there is no shock that we ended up being #1 at the end.
CRITICAL BENCH: Niki, was winning the LFL Championship what you thought it would be?
No not at all. Chicago wasn't the best team in the league after us, I believe Dallas was our biggest competition. We played them 2 days before the Lingerie Bowl & won the Western Conference 20-14. It was a tight game and both teams fought the whole time but we had more will power because we had been waiting to get our revenge against Dallas as they were the only team that beat us during our regular season. Our first season game was against Denver & we had the best come back I've seen. We were down 20-6 at half time and came back and scored 20 points in the 2nd half and our D shut them out. We won 26-20. That was the best feeling in the world. Also our last home game at the LA Colliseum was amazing because we played perfect football and shut San Diego out 53-0. Winning the Lingerie Bowl 27-14 was a consequential factor to playing a great season, just an icing on the cake.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your head coach, David Bizub! How does he fire you and the girls up before and after games?
My teamates & I fired eachother up as we had some great leaders on our team. Our Quarterback Vanessa Farmner is a LAPD police officer, so she brought natural leadership to our team. Most of us did not see eye to eye with our offensive coordinator and actually had a great deal of frustration towards him. We had to work extra hard to make up for some of the bad decisions coach David Bizub made, such as unfortunate play calling in Dallas which caused us to take our only loss.
Our Defensive coach Tui Suiaunoa was great and has a lot of experience playing Football on a professional level, which is why he was able to work us up to being the most hard hitting & aggressive defense in the league. We also had some great leadership from our special teams & wide receiver coaches Scott Talanoa & Eddie Chang. Without the latter three coaches our team would have never made it to the championship let alone won it all.
CRITICAL BENCH: Before the LFL playoffs started most people didn't think you girls would even get a chance to play in the playoffs. I got messages from some girls and fans that your year was over before it was over since you had to beat San Diego by (43 points?) to make the playoffs? Well, you girls beat San Diego by 53 points, what did you do differently? Your team seemed so different then.
We had to win by 33 points to get our playoff spot in Miami. The truth is we were HUNGRY & nothing was going to stop us. We were determined to not only get 33 or more points but to send a message to the league, our fans, and Dallas Desire that we were a team that was capable of putting 53 points on the scoreboard and shutting out an offense with a 0 score. They got the message.
CRITICAL BENCH: They sure did! How did you and your girls get better as the season went on? Early on you lost a game and were very competitive, but towards the end you seemed unstoppable.
Losing our only game in Dallas was a reality check for us. We knew that if we didn't give it our all & win the rest of our games everything we had worked for had been in vain. We dug deep, practiced harder, and mustered the will strength and pulled it off.
CRITICAL BENCH: List us a funny moment from the LFL season.
There were so many, I will never forget this season! After winning in Denver myself & a few other linewoman were doing the electric slide naked in the shower because we were so happy. After our last home game at the Los Angeles Colliseum I was carried into our after party on the shoulders of two of our biggest fans because they said my feet shouldn't ever touch the ground because I am a football goddess.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about a moment during the LFL season where you faced adversity and how you overcame it?
Every day was a challenge and being on a team with 20 young women is a challenge in itself. I have a strong personality and I am definitely not for everybody, not sure that is something that can be overcome. Like I said, the biggest adversity our team faced was a lack of leadership from our head coach. Luckily we had 3 other coaches who helped us get through the season, and many great leaders who were able to step up and take control of the season.
CRITICAL BENCH: Write us a powerful and favorite moment you had during the LFL season.
Whether we win or lose a game I tend to get very emotional. When we came back in Denver & won 26-20 after being down 20-6 at Half time, I cried. I was just so overcome by joy and felt that the sheer force of heart and will power was what got us the win that night.
The night we lost in Dallas for the first time I threw chairs, I pounded a cement wall and I sat in a corner and cried for a good half an hour. I don't take defeat well.
The night we played in the Los Angeles Colliseum and beat San Diego 53-0 in front of a huge crowd I couldn't have felt more proud. I had goose bumps knowing we played a near perfect football game on the same field that football greats Ronnie Lott, Troy Palamalu, Reggie Bush etc had played on. I have never felt more powerful in my life than that night.
CRITICAL BENCH: List us a crazy moment during the LFL year.
Being on CSI: NY for an episode called "Flag on the Play" was pretty crazy! They did an entire plot around a murder on the LFL team. My team and a few of the San Diego players were on it. It was crazy because everyone in the country saw the episode and it took the league from being a novelty to a part of pop culture
CRITICAL BENCH: What an LFL year it has been! Are you playing in the LFL next year? What are your plans?
I am not playing next year, a decision which I made a while ago. This is because I have been dedicated to Lingerie Bowl / Lingerie Football League since 2007. I have to focus on Law School as I am nearing graduation, so I have to start preparing for the Bar Exam. Juggling Law School and LFL has been hard on me physically, mentally, and emotionally and I don't think I can burn the candle on both ends much longer. Having played in the LFL has made a huge impact on who I am and I will forever be grateful for the memories. I will always be a warrior, on and off the field, it is inside of me & being on a team does not alter that quality.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are the best parts of being an LFL athlete?
Being able to play a sport that men say belongs to them. Sorry guys, women can do everything men do, except we look sexier doing it.
CRITICAL BENCH: How are you going to remember your 2009-2010 championship LFL year?
A lot of hard work, good memories and a one of a kind experience that most people could never dream of being a part of.
CRITICAL BENCH: Niki it has been a pleasure talking to you. You and your team have won the LFL championship and you're a true Goddess Football Goddess and life warrior. In closing would you like to thank and what would you like to say in closing?
I'd like to thank God for everything he has blessed me with and put in my life and the fact that he continues to bless me, and I can only hope that I am making him proud. This season has been a memory I will never forget and has forever changed me. I love Football.