Did you “Join the Alliance” this weekend? If you do not know what I’m referring to, there is a new football league called The Alliance of American Football and this was their inaugural weekend. There were many great plays and some familiar names in these games. Here are five takeaways from the games.
The Minor Rule Changes Will Have a Major Impact
The AAF has a few rule differences than the NFL and they worked well. A few examples of the changes that I liked were that a team needed to go for a two point conversion after scoring a touchdown and that there are no kickoffs; teams start their drives from their own 25 yard line. While a player returning a kickoff for a touchdown is exciting, it doesn’t happen often enough and usually we see touch backs on kickoffs.
Having Access to the Replay Booth as well as Sound from the Head Coach and QB is Very Cool
This scene happens every week of an NFL season, there’s a close call and the coach challenges the ruling on the field. You see it one way and when the referee announces the opposite of what you thought you say, “What the heck?” Now, even if you don’t agree with the call, you get to see how the replay official came to their conclusion. The transparency of it is something that will help the AAF, especially in the wake of many missed calls this past NFL season. Additionally, the sound from the head coach and quarterback helps you feel like you are part of the action.
Steve Spurrier is STILL a Great Coach
The Saturday Night Game to watch was the Orlando Apollos beating the Atlanta Legends by a score of 40 – 6. The Apollos are coached by 73 year old Steve Spurrier. Like a fine wine, Spurrier only gets better with age. He had his team running RPOs and may have had the best line of the season (that’s how good it was, it’s Week 1 and we already have a contender for “line of the season”) when after giving the play to the quarterback he said, “Tell him to catch it this time.” If Spurrier can keep this up, many people will stay interested in the league.
As Quarterback Play Gets Better the League will Improve
Right now the NFL has an abundance of great quarterbacks. Baker Mayfield, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and so many more are playing well week in and week out in the NFL. Obviously, with the AAF being a developmental league these big name QBs will not be suiting up. Names like Mike Bercovici and Christian Hackenberg are the players trying to lead their teams to victories. While some quarterbacks like John Wolford, Luis Perez and Garrett Gilbert played well, without the star power in the league, improvement from the quarterbacks will go a long way.
San Antonio’s Fans Will Help NFL Owners Build Their Stadiums
The other Saturday Night Game this week featured the San Diego Fleet against the San Antonio Commanders. The San Antonio fans were loud and exactly what you want to see from a fan base of a new league. Now any time an NFL owner wants to build a new stadium and the city is hesitant, the owner can say, if you don’t give me the new stadium I’m sure San Antonio will and the fans will be great. Do you think an NFL owner wouldn’t do that? Then perhaps you need to read up on the 1995 Cleveland Browns. San Antonio has just become a huge bargaining chip in any negotiation between an NFL owner and their city.
I know I will continue to watch the AAF season, then again, I watched every XFL game I could in 2001, so maybe I’m not the best barometer. What did you think of the opening week of the AAF? Did you watch? Will you watch in the future? What team were you rooting for? If you’d like to discuss the AAF some more, comment below!