The Debut of the Alliance of American Football
After the Super Bowl game ended, fans may have been sad that they would have to wait another seven months for the next NFL season. However, a new football league has emerged to keep the football season going. On the Saturday night debut of their opening weekend, the league has already caught many fan’s attention. The Alliance of American Football, or the AAF, founded by television and film producer and director, Charles Ebersol, is a new developmental league for those who still have pro football ambitions to play under a big spotlight, with no direct affiliation to the NFL itself.
The new league consists of eight teams from Arizona, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Salt Lake, San Antonio, and San Diego. The 12-week season started this weekend on February 9, and ends in a championship game on April 27, with plans for one game a week to be carried on CBS Sports Network, to get some national spotlight. Games will also be available for streaming via a free app. In the 10-week regular season, there will be two games each on Saturdays and Sundays. The league hopes to draw attraction with some big name coaches, former star players, and a different, action packed style of play.
In their debut on Saturday Night, the new football league was received very well by audiences, and mostly social media. In the debut, the two games between the San Diego Fleet vs. the San Antonio Commanders, and the Atlanta Legends vs. the Orlando Apollos posted a 2.1 overnight rating compared to a marquee NBA matchup between the two former NBA MVPs James Harden and Russell Westbrook did a 2.0 overnight rating. A big reason for the growing excitement for the league, was the social media reactions to the big hits and exciting action that many fans have missed in the NFL, with their recent rule changes. Another reason for excitement, were new rules, including no kickoffs, a SkyJudge, and many more. Instead of kickoffs, there will still be a coin toss at the beginning of the game, with the winner deciding to receive or defer, and the teams that gets the ball will simply send out its offense to start from its 25 yard line. This makes the play and speed of the game much faster, and a huge time saver. The SkyJudge will be a ninth member of the officiating crew, who will be in the press box and can instantly correct clear officiating errors, involving player safety anytime during the game, and a pass interference call, and without replay. These new rule changes result in a much faster and quicker game, which the league is hoping, fans will like.
Although many other alternative football leagues have failed in the past, the fact that CBS seems to be heavily vested in the league, and the ratings from week one, give the league hope that there might be a future for the AAF. It really all comes down to the quality of football being played. If the games turn out to be fun and exciting to watch, then it should be able to catch the eyes of fans who are mourning the end of the NFL and College Football seasons. Big names coaches and players playing to keep their football dreams alive could lead to better games, with more action and excitement for the fans. If the AAF continues to grow and generate highlight plays, the AAF might be worth checking out and wagering on.