While the confetti rained down upon Tom Brady and Bill Belichick after the conclusion of Super Bowl 53, football fans soon realized that their dreams of relaxing on Sundays to watch football had come to an end for the next seven months.
Pitchers and catchers are warming up, the NBA season is in full swing, yet true NFL fanatics don’t have much action to keep them occupied besides the NFL Draft and free agency.
While those events are still in place to happen, this offseason will see some changes regarding the sports of football. This became evident when the Alliance of American Football kicked off on Saturday, Feb. 9 to become the next professional football league next to the NFL.
The league, otherwise known as the AAF, consists of eight teams across the country that will battle for the next nine weeks before the playoffs begin. The eight teams are the Arizona Hotshots, Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Orlando Apollos, Salt Lake Stallions, San Antonio Commanders and the San Diego Fleet.
The concept for this league was established by Charlie Ebersol and his desire to make a more functioning version of the XFL, another football league that was created by Vince McMahon yet never achieved substantial success.
With the help of former NFL general manager Bill Polian, former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and former NFL executive J.K. McKay, the league formed and found a successful way to put together the rosters and teams within the league.
Along with the proper management of the league so far, the league was also able to get impressive networks to cover their games including CBS Network and NFL Network.
Their kickoff featured a doubleheader, with the first matchup taking place between the Fleet and the Commanders, and the second matchup against the Legends and the Apollos. The opening kickoff drew impressive ratings of 2.1 million overnight, the same as NBA ratings received the same night, according to Fox Business.
Multiple offenses were able to explode including the Hotshots and the Apollos as they both produced over 37 points respectively. Former NFL pros also roam the league including Sterling Moore, Quinton Patton and Trent Richardson.
The Iron features Richardson who is a former NFL first round draft pick with the Cleveland Browns yet never found his footing in the league. While things haven’t worked out for him in the past, he was able to get into the endzone twice on Sunday when they played the Express.
While this league may never meet the likes of popularity like the NFL has, but it can be a great resource for players who aren’t great in the NFL and fans who hate to see football go in February. For the AAF, they placed the start of the league in a great time of year since the NFL has nothing going on at the moment.
The amount of talented players may be lacking, but for now, the AAF has the potential to be an intriguing professional football organization.