Audio: NY’s most dominant pro sports team struggles for attention

The New York Sharks offense gets ready for action (Photo courtesy of the New York Sharks)

When it comes to winning games, there is a professional sports team in New York that excels far above the rest. With a winning percentage better than both the Yankees and the Giants over the past 12 years, the New York Sharks, a female professional tackle football team, are New York’s premier franchise.

In 12 seasons, the Sharks hold a 91-22 record, including seven division titles, three East Coast championships and a national title. They are the longest operating women’s tackle football team in the nation and the first Women’s Professional Football League (WPFL) team to have a display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The Sharks originally started as a women’s flag football team known as the Long Island Sharks. In 1999, they joined the WPFL—a tackle football league. The team plays its home games at the Aviator Sports Complex at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.

The New York Sharks offense gets ready for action (Photo courtesy of the New York Sharks)

The New York Sharks offense gets ready for action (Photo courtesy of the New York Sharks)

Since purchasing the Sharks in August 2000, team owner Andra Douglas not only has been fighting for wins but for acceptance as well.

“The main criticism is non-belief, and then there’s the issue of funding,” she said. “My players and I pay every year to get on the field. Every team does in women’s football.”

Contrary to the affluent stars of the NFL, the Sharks’ players spend their own money to get a chance to play, but they still get limited media attention for their accomplishments.

“It’s like beating your head on a wall trying to get [the media] to treat us like all the other pro sports in New York City,” Douglas said.

Do you think it’s fair that professional women football teams have to spend their own money to play, when male football teams receive large sums of money for playing the same game?

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WRHU reporters Shannan Ferry and Rick Rissetto spoke to Douglas about her experiences in women’s football.

For the full interview, tune in to “A League of Our Own” on 88.7 FM at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, 2012.

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