There is a New League in Town, TV Ratings of the Alliance of American Football Reveal a Big Hit

The Alliance of American Football league has put emphasis on allowing big hits on players- something its big brother league, the NFL, has put a halt on to keep players healthier. San Diego Fleet quarterback Mike Bercovici was the centerpiece of these type for hits as linebacker San Antonio Commanders linebacker Shaan Washington de-helmeted Bercovici with a vicious hit. Photo courtesy of AAF/CBS

The Alliance of American Football league has put emphasis on allowing big hits on players- something its big brother league, the NFL, has put a halt on to keep players healthier. San Diego Fleet quarterback Mike Bercovici was the centerpiece of these type for hits as linebacker San Antonio Commanders linebacker Shaan Washington de-helmeted Bercovici with a vicious hit. Photo courtesy of AAF/CBS

Christian Salinas, Reporter

Thought football season was over?  Think again.

A new football organization called the Alliance of American Football, trying to directly compete with the NFL, has arrived.  Not just becoming a competitor but also a fix for the football junkie while the NFL is in it’s off-season. The league officially kicked off their season Saturday, Feb. 9.  CBS has the broadcasting rights deal which aired the first two games of the new league. The first two games took place in San Antonio and in Orlando.

With the NFL ending Feb. 3, everyone expected to go into off-season mode, but there is more pigskin however, in a strange, new fashion. Perfect timing for the hardcore football fan.

The first two games of the new league were played between the Orlando Apollos verses the Atlanta Legends and the San Diego Fleet against the San Antonio Commanders.  Without much anticipation, the league is trying to take football consumers elsewhere, at least while the NFL behemoth is sleeping or temporarily napping.

The new league will feature some different rules, tweaks to rules played in the NFL, and some notable changes.  Some examples would be no kick-offs, no extra-points, no onside kicks, and now you can listen to the referees when they are reviewing a play.  They are trying to do things that fans have wanted with their NFL product consumption. They’re trying to capitalize on the direction the NFL is heading and trying to bring back customers that gave up or stopped watching the NFL because of that.  

Big hits are set to be a part of this new league trying to bank on the NFL’s “soft” reputation as of late.  It is also expecting to get fans and customers by having professional football in cities where there is none.  With examples like San Antonio, San Diego, along with cities such as Birmingham, Memphis, and Salt Lake City.

The Alliance of American Football was founded by Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian.  

Ebersol, who is also a director and producer, is the CEO. He is also the co-creator and executive producer of NFL Characters Unite, a yearly television special on USA Network, and “The Profit” on CNBC.

Polian, Head of Football and co-founder, made a name for himself in the NFL.  Most notably for being the General Manager of the Indianapolis Colts. He was able to win Super Bowl XLI with NFL legend Payton Manning as quarterback.  His accomplishments have managed to get him into the NFL Hall of Fame.

The AAF’s website states that “The Alliance features eight teams, under a single entity structure, playing a 12 week season.  Culminating with the championship game the weekend of April 26, 2019.

The league is riddled with former players from the NFL in management.  Former Pittsburgh Steelers Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, and former Minnesota Viking Jared Allen just to name a few.  It also has many notable NFL names between the lines like former NFL running back Trent Richardson, and former NFL quarterbacks Christian Hackenberg and Josh Johnson.

With such talent, one must come to the presumption that the play will be competitive and enjoyable to watch.  From the little that I watched Saturday, it reminded me of the CFL which is a professional Canadian League. With the NFL still in the driver’s seat and the AAF still in its infancy, it is hard to speculate whether the new league will have sustained success.  Especially with the looming XFL, a former league in the same position at one time, to start in 2020. The future is still yet to be written for the AAF but one thing is for certain. Football is still here.

 

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