Football Season To Continue After Super Bowl With AAF

aaf

Steve Spurrier, Aaron Murray, Trent Richardson and Nick Novak are players set to lead the new Alliance of American Football

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.

XFL Announces Teams For 2020 Kickoff

Presentation1It appears that the resurrection of the XFL is coming in February 2020 as XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck announced the cities planned for the new league.  Only two cities (New York and Los Angeles) will return from the previous edition of the XFL which played in 2001.

The new cities and stadiums will be:

  • Dallas (Globe Life Park)
  • Houston (TDECU Stadium)
  • Los Angeles (StubHub Center)
  • New York (MetLife Stadium)
  • St. Louis (The Dome at America’s Center)
  • Seattle (CenturyLink Field)
  • Tampa Bay (Raymond James Stadium)
  • Washington, DC (Audi Field)

The new XFL plans to be more fan-friendly with fast-paced games, family-friendly environment as well as several ways to view games.

The league will play a 10-game schedule with two semifinal playoff games and a championship game.

Another league, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) kicks off in February 2019 so it will be interesting to see which league will survive.  At this time, neither league has teams in both leagues.

The previous version of the league consisted of Orlando Rage, New York-New Jersey Hitmen, Chicago Enforcers, Los Angeles Extreme, Las Vegas Outlaws, Memphis Maniax, Birmingham Thunderbolts and San Francisco Demons.  As with the original league, Vin McMahon will also be involved in the XFL reboot but is promoting a “kinder and gentler” league when it takes the field in 2020.

Suggested nicknames for the new teams include:

  • Dallas – Wranglers, Outlaws, Desperados
  • Houston – Outlaws, Roughriders, Stallions
  • Los Angeles – Extreme, Stars, Condors
  • New York – Hitmen, Heroes
  • St. Louis – Steamers, Stallions
  • Seattle – Enforcers, Kraken
  • Tampa Bay – Krewe, Thunderbolts, Tritons, Bandits
  • Washington – Warriors, Stars

Philadelphia has registered a domain for an XFL team and may be a future location if the league succeeds and looks to expand.

Johnny Maziel who failed with the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) and recently played with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League (CFL) tops the list of players who might be interested in playing for the Dallas XFL franchise.

So will the XFL work?  I think it CAN work but only if it can survive the competition with the AAF which will already have a head start on them.  I think both leagues can co-exist as long as they establish themselves and don’t put franchises in cities with other leagues.  I still think that outdoor football in the winter/spring is a hard sell but still should appeal to football fans more than arena football.

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.