It looks like the new Alliance of American Football (AAF) will become a reality as the league’s eight teams are currently in training camps as they prepare to kickoff their inaugural seasons on the Sunday after the Super Bowl.
The Atlanta Legends, Orlando Apollos, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Arizona Hotshots, San Diego Fleet, San Antonio Commanders and Salt Lake Stallions will launch this new league.
I’m not sure what kind of quality football that the AAF is going to offer football fans. Judging by the Twitter posts, most of the videos are of players showing off their dance moves. This makes me skeptical about the actual quality of play. I also wonder if fans will show up to outdoor stadiums during February and March
Week 1 games will be played on February 9 & 10. Atlanta will open their season at Orlando, San Diego at San Antonio, Memphis at Birmingham and Salt Lake will play at Arizona.
When I look at the rosters of the teams, I really don’t see a lot of people that I recognize. Here are some of the notable players that are listed for each team:
- Arizona Hot Shots
- Coach Rick Neuheisel
- QB Trevor Knight (College: Oklahoma, Texas A&M Pro: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons)
- Atlanta Legends
- Coach Kevin Coyle
- QB Aaron Murray (College: Georgia Pro: Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams
- QB Matt Simms (College: Tennessee Pro: New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons)
- WR Stephen Hill (College: Georgia Tech Pro: New York Jets, Carolina Panthers)
- Birmingham Iron
- Coach Tim Lewis
- QB Blake Sims (College: Alabama Pro: Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- QB Scott Tolzien (College: Wisconsin Pro: San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts)
- RB Trent Richardson (College: Alabama Pro: Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens)
- CB JaCorey Shepherd (College: Kansas Pro: Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers)
- K Nick Novak (College: Maryland Pro: Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers)
- Memphis Express
- Coach Mike Singletary
- QB Christian Hackenberg (College: Penn State Pro: New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals)
- QB Zach Mettenberger (College: LSU Pro: Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers)
- RB Zac Stacy (College: Vanderbilt Pro: St. Louis Rams, New York Jets)
- WR Chris Givens (College: Wake Forest Pro: St. Louis Rams, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles)
- Orlando Apollos
- Coach Steve Spurrier
- QB Garrett Gilbert (College: Texas, SMU Pro: St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers)
- QB Stephen Morris (College: Miami Pro: Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans)
- WR Frankie Hammond (College: Florida Pro: Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets)
- DB Will Hill (College: Florida Pro: New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens)
- San Antonio Commanders
- Coach Mike Riley
- RB David Cobb (College: Minnesota Pro: Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears)
- RB Daryl Richardson (College: Abilene Christian Pro: St. Louis Rams, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts)
- Salt Lake Stallions
- Coach Dennis Erickson
- QB B.J. Daniels (College: South Florida Pro: San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons)
- QB Garrett Grayson (College: Colorado State Pro: New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos)
- RB Matt Asiata (College: Utah Pro: Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions)
- San Diego Fleet
- Coach Mike Martz
- QB Josh Johnson (College: San Diego Pro: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders)
- RB Bishop Sankey (College: Washington Pro: Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings)
This new league has the potential for filling the void of football when the Super Bowl ends but we will have to wait and see what kind of quality of product these teams will put on the field. While the league won’t directly compete with the National Football League (NFL), the survival will depend on how well they are received by football fans – especially in the eight cities which will have AAF teams. Many of the cities have been the victim of past failed leagues and could be more apprehensive in embracing yet another football team. I think the league did a good job putting teams in San Diego and Atlanta which San Diego losing the Chargers and Atlanta desperate for a consistent winner.
If nothing else, the AAF could partner with the NFL in becoming a developmental league while former players could use it as a way back into the league. If the AAF takes hold, they would do well to become a true developmental league and place franchises in markets without NFL franchises.
They need to get off to a good start with the new re-creation of the XFL set to be their competition in 2020.