Another pro league starts up for football junkies

Although it has been flying under the radar of most sport pages, a new pro football league was launched on February 9. It's called the Alliance of American Football (AAF). The league consists of eight teams playing a 40-game schedule in its initial season. Interestingly, all teams except Salt Lake are located on or south of the 35th parallel. They are as follows: Eastern Conference • Atlanta • Birmingham • Memphis • Orlando Western Conference

Although it has been flying under the radar of most sport pages, a new pro football league was launched on February 9.  It's called the Alliance of American Football (AAF).  The league consists of eight teams playing a 40-game schedule in its initial season.  Interestingly, all teams except Salt Lake are located on or south of the 35th parallel.  They are as follows:

Eastern Conference

  • Atlanta
  • Birmingham
  • Memphis
  • Orlando

Western Conference

  • Tempe (Ariz.)
  • Salt Lake
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego


Charlie Ebersol, co-founder and CEO, The Alliance, speaks at press conference.
Photo credit: Rlauxmww18.

The expressed intent of the league, aside from making money, is twofold.  The AAF says it's to complement the NFL in the offseason and to be a showcase for local and developing talent.

It is said that a fan watching an AAF game won't notice much of a difference between it and an NFL game.  One of the AAF's goals is to make a player's transition into the NFL as seamless as possible.  For example, there will still be 15-minute quarters but with the play clock down to 35 seconds, compared to the NFL's 40 seconds.  But there are other rule differences that may be a harbinger for changes in the NFL.  The most notable include these:

1. In the AAF, there are no kickoffs.  The play begins at offensive teams' own 25-yard line.  (Kickoffs are said to be the most dangerous part of the game.)

2. There are also no extra-point kicks after a touchdown.  Rather, all touchdowns are followed by a two-point conversion attempt.  (Field goals stay the same.)

3. The AAF will have a "sky judge" who is a ninth official in a press box.  The sky judge has the right to call penalties or to negate ones called on the field by the other officials.  (Surely, the Saints wish there had been a sky judge in their playoff game with the Rams.)

4. No more than five players can rush the quarterback on a single play.  And players are not allowed to blitz from more than two yards outside the defensive line or from five yards back from the line of scrimmage.  Violation of these rules is a 15-yard penalty.  These rules are designed to better protect the quarterback.

Compared to the NFL, the AAF rules will make the game safer, shorter, and more pass-orientated.  Like many large organizations with a cumbersome and entrenched bureaucracy, the NFL is slow, even paralyzed in some cases, in making commonsense rule changes.  The AAF may prove to be a positive catalyst for reform in the NFL.  In any event, the NFL should love for the AAF to be viable.  The new league is not a direct competitor, while at the same time, the AAF can serve as sort of a farm system for the NFL.

So how's the AAF doing?  After two weeks, attendance is ranging from 12,000 to 30,000.  And the league has a broadcast schedule and is streamed on CBS All Access.  Here is the full schedule.  Without knowing the details of the finances of the teams, it is impossible to judge if the league is profitable or not.  Besides, the AAF is still in its start-up phase, with many people still not aware of it yet.  It might have the potential to grow.

Many think the AAF will blow away in a few years.  Why?  Because everything has a saturation point, and the NFL may have reached its own.  And as best as can be determined, Vince McMahon still plans to re-launch his XFL in 2020.

Football 24/7 is crazy. Also, with 32 teams in the NFL, the shortage of talent is already a problem.

Maybe there are enough football junkies out there to support the NFL, the AAF, and "Mister McMahon's"  XFL.  I doubt it, but only time will tell.

Photo credit: Rlauxmww18.

Although it has been flying under the radar of most sport pages, a new pro football league was launched on February 9. It's called the Alliance of American Football (AAF). The league consists of eight teams playing a 40-game schedule in its initial season. Interestingly, all teams except Salt Lake are located on or south of the 35th parallel. They are as follows: Eastern Conference • Atlanta • Birmingham • Memphis • Orlando Western Conference

Although it has been flying under the radar of most sport pages, a new pro football league was launched on February 9.  It's called the Alliance of American Football (AAF).  The league consists of eight teams playing a 40-game schedule in its initial season.  Interestingly, all teams except Salt Lake are located on or south of the 35th parallel.  They are as follows:

Eastern Conference

  • Atlanta
  • Birmingham
  • Memphis
  • Orlando

Western Conference

  • Tempe (Ariz.)
  • Salt Lake
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego


Charlie Ebersol, co-founder and CEO, The Alliance, speaks at press conference.
Photo credit: Rlauxmww18.

The expressed intent of the league, aside from making money, is twofold.  The AAF says it's to complement the NFL in the offseason and to be a showcase for local and developing talent.

It is said that a fan watching an AAF game won't notice much of a difference between it and an NFL game.  One of the AAF's goals is to make a player's transition into the NFL as seamless as possible.  For example, there will still be 15-minute quarters but with the play clock down to 35 seconds, compared to the NFL's 40 seconds.  But there are other rule differences that may be a harbinger for changes in the NFL.  The most notable include these:

1. In the AAF, there are no kickoffs.  The play begins at offensive teams' own 25-yard line.  (Kickoffs are said to be the most dangerous part of the game.)

2. There are also no extra-point kicks after a touchdown.  Rather, all touchdowns are followed by a two-point conversion attempt.  (Field goals stay the same.)

3. The AAF will have a "sky judge" who is a ninth official in a press box.  The sky judge has the right to call penalties or to negate ones called on the field by the other officials.  (Surely, the Saints wish there had been a sky judge in their playoff game with the Rams.)

4. No more than five players can rush the quarterback on a single play.  And players are not allowed to blitz from more than two yards outside the defensive line or from five yards back from the line of scrimmage.  Violation of these rules is a 15-yard penalty.  These rules are designed to better protect the quarterback.

Compared to the NFL, the AAF rules will make the game safer, shorter, and more pass-orientated.  Like many large organizations with a cumbersome and entrenched bureaucracy, the NFL is slow, even paralyzed in some cases, in making commonsense rule changes.  The AAF may prove to be a positive catalyst for reform in the NFL.  In any event, the NFL should love for the AAF to be viable.  The new league is not a direct competitor, while at the same time, the AAF can serve as sort of a farm system for the NFL.

So how's the AAF doing?  After two weeks, attendance is ranging from 12,000 to 30,000.  And the league has a broadcast schedule and is streamed on CBS All Access.  Here is the full schedule.  Without knowing the details of the finances of the teams, it is impossible to judge if the league is profitable or not.  Besides, the AAF is still in its start-up phase, with many people still not aware of it yet.  It might have the potential to grow.

Many think the AAF will blow away in a few years.  Why?  Because everything has a saturation point, and the NFL may have reached its own.  And as best as can be determined, Vince McMahon still plans to re-launch his XFL in 2020.

Football 24/7 is crazy. Also, with 32 teams in the NFL, the shortage of talent is already a problem.

Maybe there are enough football junkies out there to support the NFL, the AAF, and "Mister McMahon's"  XFL.  I doubt it, but only time will tell.

Photo credit: Rlauxmww18.