A new football league called the Alliance of American Football launched on Tuesday, and it flew pretty far under the radar.
A few weeks ago, the chairman of the WWE Vince McMahon announced he would be reviving the old XFL to much fuss and fanfare. There will also be another football league that will be at the forefront after the NFL wraps up its season, coming to a TV near you soon, as the Alliance of American Football will begin its inaugural season in 2019.
The main men behind the new spring football league are Charlie Ebersol (son of TV legend Dick Ebersol) and Bill Polian, who is one of the better known executives in NFL history. Those are some heavy hitters at the top of the hierarchy, and they’ve made the smart move of bringing former NFL players on board to try and give it their best shot at making this league work.
Hines Ward, Jared Allen and Troy Polamalu are all involved, and Polamalu himself will be the head of player relations. It’s pretty difficult to beat that level of experience just from how many combined seasons those men have played in the NFL. Now add in how high of a level they played at and this is a slam dunk move for a fledgling league.
Even though Polian may have made some mistakes as an executive, nobody was ever perfect in the NFL. He recently took some criticism about suggesting Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson should switch to wide receiver. Still, he carries a lot of weight and is doing a fine job trying to give the AAF credibility right out of the gate. Polian was quoted on wtae.com about how important the ex-players will be to the new league.
Whenever you have an endeavor that involves the kind of teamwork football involves, it implies a partnership, the need to get their buy-in and do things, particularly in a startup, that represent their best interest … to make sure players know we have their best interests at heart. That is the guiding philosophy.
Details are still a little sketchy, but the AAF already has a broadcasting deal in place with CBS, which is a huge step as far as exposure goes. Even though the network proper will only carry the first ever game and the championship game, the CBS Network will also broadcast one game a week, per SI.com.
There aren’t a ton of details yet as far as where the games will be played or what cities will see new franchises. The player pool will be culled from college players that don’t get drafted or make NFL teams and players who may not have made it in the CFL or the Arena league. It will be interesting to see if this new league can attract fans with a different style of player, but they are trying to change some rules to make things more fun for fans.
They’re promising to wrap up games in right about two and a half hours, which would be a huge step up from NFL game length. They are also eliminating kickoffs to help with player safety, and there will be no extra points. There will be a two-point conversion attempt after every touchdown. Fans of kickers need not apply for the Alliance of American Football.
While it remains to be seen if either new football league can be successful, the AAF does have a lot of recognizable names with a huge track record of success in the NFL and in broadcasting excellence. That will surely give them an advantage when the league kicks off in the spring of 2019.