Unlucky 11 For AAF Teams in Week 4

Former UGA QB Aaron Murray Leads Legends To First Win

The San Antonio Commanders spoiled a potential showdown of unbeatens as they edged the Birmingham Iron 12-11 to leave the Orlando Apollos as the Alliance of American Football (AAF) only remained undefeated team.  Week 4 was an unlucky week to score 11 points as three teams scored 11 points and lost their games this week.

Orlando Apollos 20, Salt Lake Stallions 11

The Stallions and Apollos played in the snow in this one. The Stallions did their best to knock off the unbeaten Apollos but Orlando got it done with quarterback Garrett Gilbert passing for 244 yards. with a 20-yard touchdown to receiver Donteea Dye Jr.  Receiver Charles Johnson also had a big day, hauling in nine catches for 105 yards and Apollos running back Akeem Hunt had a touchdown on the ground.

San Antonio Commanders 12, Birmingham Iron 11

Trey Williams scored a touchdown from 12 yards out in the third quarter and the San Antonio Commanders’ defense held strong to beat the Iron. Commanders running back Kenneth Farrow ran for 142 yards on 30 carries, while quarterback Logan Woodside completed 11 of 25 attempts for 106 yards. Birmingham outgained San Antonio 283-256 but scored just one touchdown on a 1-yard rush from Trent Richardson with less than two minutes to play. The Commanders’ Orion Stewart intercepted the Iron’s ensuing onside conversion attempt.

Memphis Express 26, San Diego Fleet 23

The Express finally got their first victory as they rallied against the Fleet. Memphis quarterback Zach Mettenberger led two impressive drives in the game. Mettenberger finished the game completing 18-of-25 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown while he also ran in another score on the ground. Reece Horn was again his go-to receiver, hauling in all four of his targeted passes for 63 yards.

Atlanta Legends 14, Arizona Hotshots 11

The Legends outlasted the Hotshots and despite a late touchdown to Rashad Ross and 2-point conversion attempt tied the game at 11 with 5:20 left, the Legends marched down the field for a Younghoe Koo game-winner with 1:03 left on the clock. They held Hotshots QB John Wolford to little success on their comeback attempt late in the game for the first win in franchise history. Former University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray replaced starter Matt Simms and. finished the game completing 20-of-33 passes for 254 yards while also leading the team with 54 rushing yards on just seven attempts.

News and Notes:

  • Atlanta scored the first safety in AAF history in their game against the Hotshots.
  • Orlando has the most explosive offense averaging 385 yards and 29.5 points per game.
  • Orlando quarterback Garrett Gilbert is the only quarterback with more than 1,000 yards passing.
  • Memphis Express linebacker Drew Jackson had 13 tackles and an interception for his team’s first win of the season.
  • Nasty weather gave the AFF a blow in attendance as Birmingham and Salt Lake dropped.

Current AAF Standings:

Eastern Division

  • Orlando Apollos (4-0)
  • Birmingham Iron (3-1)
  • Atlanta Legends (1-3)
  • Memphis Express (1-3)

Western Division

  • Arizona Hotshots (2-2)
  • San Antonio Commanders (2-2)
  • San Diego Fleet (2-2)
  • Salt Lake City Stallions (1-3)

Week 5 Schedule:

  • Orlando at Birmingham
  • Salt Lake at San Diego
  • Memphis at Atlanta
  • San Antonio at Arizona

 

Alliance of American Football Release Uniforms and Helmets

When asked about his team wearing different color pants for a football game, an old high school football coach said, “The color of the pants don’t matter.  The pants aren’t going to tackle anybody or score touchdowns, it’s the players wearing the pants who will win or lose the game.”

He was right about that.  They don’t make a difference in playing the game but it’s nice to look good doing it.

The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is the newest professional football and they will kick off their first season the week after the Super Bowl in Atlanta (GA), Birmingham (AL), Memphis (TN), Orlando (FL), Phoenix (AZ), Salt Lake (UT), San Antonio (TX), and San Diego (CA).  Last week the league released the uniform and helmet designs of each team.  Here’s how I would rank them:

#8 – Atlanta Legends

atlanta

Boring.  I think they could have done better.  I still have issues with the name.  Not that it doesn’t fit Atlanta in some way but it wasn’t very creative and neither are the uniforms/helmet.  The helmet will have a crown which could be a reference to Martin Luther King, Jr.  The colors will be purple and gold with the letters “ATL” up each side of the jersey in gold.  Maybe it will work and if they can do better than the Falcons I don’t think it will really matter.

#7 – Birmingham Iron

birmingham

Boring #2.  The Iron’s colors are black, dark grey and light grey.  They were inspired by the three elements needed to make steel – iron ore, coal and flux.   Not sure what flux is.  With no logo on the black helmet it is much like the non-logo side of a Pittsburgh Steeler’s helmet.  And that name – Iron – singular.  I’m not a fan of singular nicknames for sports teams.

#6 – San Antonio Commanders

san_antonioI like the name but there is a lot of red in their team colors.  The colors are a combination of red, silver and maroon.  The sword is a nice touch and identifies with the Alamo.  San Antonio is a city in need a professional football team that will stay.  San Antonians have been dealt with teams in the World Football League (WFL), United States Football League (USFL), Arena Football League (AFL) and even the Canadian Football League (CFL).  Hopefully this one will stick.

#5 – San Diego Fleet

san diegoAgain with the singular nickname but with the strong navy influence, I guess this name works.  It is expected that jilted Charger fans might come aboard.  The colors are grey, dark grey and gold in a military style design.  The helmet includes a battleship which is pretty fitting with the player’s number on the other side of the helmet.

#4 – Arizona Hotshots

arizonaNot a fan of the name but the uniforms identify them with designs based upon the United States Forest Service firefighters.  Their jersey is gold with an orange collar and green sleeves.  The helmet is gold with a green face mask.  The primary logo features two crossed fire axes on a shield.  I don’t think it will be hard to distinguish this team as an Arizona-based team.

#3 – Memphis Express

MemphisI was unsure where to place this one on my list.  I really like the uniform and design but it’s hard for me to identify this with Memphis.  I suppose the name is derived from Federal Express which is based there.  The helmet is a gradient from blue to read with a jet ascending from back to front.  The jersey is blue with red sleeves and collar.

#2 – Salt Lake Stallions

salt lakeThis is one of the team’s that I think got it right with the name, logo and colors.  The only thing that puzzles me is the helmet logo.  The logo looks more like wings rather than a horses’ mane which I assume is what they were thinking.  The jersey is silver with a light blue collar and sleeves, darker royal blue for the player numbers.  Not bad.

#1 – Orlando Apollos

orlandoThis is my favorite of the eight teams.  I think they got it right with the name and designs.  Orlando is another city which has been through several failed leagues and franchises.  Maybe this one will make it.  The team colors are orange, blue and white.  The helmet features a logo of Apollo ready to shoot his arrow inside of a faint hint of the letter “O”.

So now we need to wait to see which players will wear these uniforms and helmets.

 

Names/Logos Set For Alliance of American Football Teams

AAF TeamsOkay, the wait is over (if you were really waiting for this).  The newest professional football league has now released their team names and logos.  The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is scheduled to kickoff on February 9, 2019.

So here they are.  These are your 10 teams:

  • Orlando Apollos
    • Stadium:  Spectrum Stadium
    • Coach:  Steve Spurrier
  • Atlanta Legends
    • Stadium:  Georgia State Stadium
    • Coach:  Brad Childress
  • Memphis Express
    • Stadium:  Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
    • Coach:  Mike Singletary
  • Birmingham Iron
    • Stadium:  Legion Field Stadium
    • Coach:  Tim Lewis
  • Salt Lake Stallions
    • Stadium:  Rice-Eccles Stadium
    • Coach:  Dennis Erickson
  • Arizona Hotshots
    • Stadium:  Sun Devil Stadium
    • Coach:  Rick Neuheisel
  • San Diego Fleet
    • Stadium:  San Diego County Credit Union Stadium
    • Coach:  Mike Martz
  • San Antonio Commanders
    • Stadium:  Alamodome
    • Coach:  Mike Riley

I don’t love or hate any of these names/logos for these proposed teams.  They didn’t pick any of the names I had expected such as Memphis Hound Dogs, Orlando Wizards, Birmingham Bulls, San Diego Breakers and San Antonio Outlaws.  Hopefully they will not end up in the graveyard of failed leagues.  Orlando, Memphis, Birmingham and San Antonio have had teams in many of the failed leagues in the past so it will be interesting to see if the fans of these cities will embrace the newest teams or will wait to see their teams fold again.  Arizona and Atlanta are the only teams with active National Football League (NFL) teams in the same city but with the spring schedule, they will not compete head-to-head.  I was a little surprised that the AAF failed to place a franchise in St. Louis.  Maybe that is in their future plans as well as expansion into the Northeast U.S.

So how will the AAF be different than the NFL?

  • AAF will get rid of kicking the extra point.  Instead, teams will go for two.
  • Play clock will be reduced to 30 seconds
  • No kickoffs.  Teams will start with the ball at the 25 to begin play.
  • Instead of an onside kick, a team can keep possession of the ball by attempting a scrimmage play from their own 35-yard line and gaining at least 10 yards.

So will the AAF survive where the USFL, WFL, CFL and other leagues failed?  It seems they are off to a good start and have some legitimate people running the league.  The last sustained attempt at an alternative spring league was the United States Football League which lasted from 1983-1986.  The league folded when the plans were made to move to the fall and compete head-to-head with the NFL.  Maybe the AAF will not repeat the mistakes of the past.  If it works, we may have access to football year-round.  That’s enough to make football haters cringe.