With the Super Bowl being the last game of the NFL season, its normally time to start hanging up football fandom another six months til the season starts back up. But this year is different, the Alliance of American Football is here.
WHAT IS IT?
According to their website, the AAF “is high-quality football fueled by a dynamic Alliance between players, fans and the game.” The league was started by Hall of Fame GM Bill Polian and film producer Charlie Ebersol. The league also includes former NFL players such as Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward in leadership positions.
The league will also feature several rule changes to shorten the game.
WHERE IS IT?
The AAF has eight teams around the country, including here in Utah. Teams include the Arizona Hotshots, Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Orlando Apollos, Salt Lake Stallions, San Antonio Commanders, and San Diego Fleet. The Stallions will play their games at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
WHY HAVE IT?
The NFL has lacked a developmental league for years. Baseball has a minor league farm system to develop players, while the NBA has the G-League and overseas basketball for draft-and-stash transactions. The last time the NFL had a developmental league was NFL Europe, which was shut down in 2007.
Although other leagues have popped up, such as the Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League, each league has failed to produce consistent talent worthy of being on an NFL roster. The AAF, along with the XFL in 2020, will attempt to be a worthy minor league for the NFL.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
Each team consists of several former stars in both college and the NFL, with several players from local colleges. The Stallions will be coached by Dennis Erickson, who helped lead the University of Miami to two national titles in the 1990s. He was also the co-offensive coordinator for the University of Utah from 2013-15.
The Stallions will also feature quarterback BJ Daniels, who was a seventh round draft pick in 2013 after leaving the University of South Florida high on both their rushing and passing leaderboards.
Other players on the Stallions include former Utah Utes Matt Asiata, Dres Anderson and Kaelin Clay. Former BYU players include Jordan Leslie, Tanner Balderree and Micah Hannemann.
Other players around the league include quarterback Josh Johnson, who played for the Washington Redskins this year, and running back Trent Richardson, who helped lead the Alabama Crimson Tide to two national titles between 2009-11, among others.
The league is also headlined by an outstanding coaching class that includes: Mike Singletary, Brad Childress, Steve Spurrier and Mike Riley.
WHEN IS IT?
The league will start on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 6pm local time on CBS. The network signed to broadcast one AAF game each week on television. Fans will also be able to stream games on the AAF app when it is released. For Stallions fans, they will be able to listen to games on ESPN 700 on the radio.
A full Stallions schedule can be found here, while a full schedule of the AAF can be found at each of the team’s pages on aaf.com.
Story by: Kurt Meacham
PhotosB courtesy of Salt Lake Stallions