This weekend, the newest professional football league — the Alliance of American Football (or the AAF) — will begin its inaugural season. While you surely would recognize a few names if you tune in to watch (Saturday night at 8 pm EST on CBS), you might find it difficult to watch a game without any rooting interest. Fear not fellow BGNers, as I have taken the time to do the research for you. Here is a comprehensive AAF guide, as well as a recommended team to root for.
The AAF will feature a slightly different set of rules from the NFL (and NCAA). Some of the most notable differences are:
- There will be no kickoffs and instead possession will start at the 25
- Instead of onside kicks, you get the “ball on your own 35 and you’ll be facing 4th-and-10. If you convert, you keep going. If you don’t, you’re giving the ball back to someone knocking on your own red zone”, per league founder Charlie Ebersol on the Dan Patrick Show.
- As if the kicker wasn’t losing enough of his duties, there will also be no PATs. All TDs will be followed by a 2 pt conversion attempt.
- Play clock will be reduced to just 35 seconds to encourage a quicker pace of play.
- No television timeouts.
The season will begin this Saturday, February 9th, and will run through Sunday, April, 14th. The top four teams will make the playoffs, and the championship game will be Saturday, April 27th in Las Vegas. Each team will play 10 games, that will be on Saturdays and Sundays (with the exception of one game which will be on a Friday Night).
The AAF will begin its inaugural season with the following eight teams:
- Arizona Hotshots
- Atlanta Legends
- Birmingham Iron
- Memphis Express
- Orlando Apollos
- Salt Lake Stallions
- San Antonio Commanders
- San Diego Fleet
Judging by location alone, the Atlanta Legends would be the closest team to Philadelphia. However, if you’re like me anyways, Philadelphians may not be willing to root for a football team in a city that hosts a (conference) rival NFL team. I also tend to not want to root for a football team from Texas (looking at you San Antonio Commanders). Also, it should be noted that the Arizona Hotshots get a bonus point for having green as their primary color.
I’m not going to post the full rosters, as they are available online, but here are the players and staff members that are relevant to Eagles fans for one reason or another:
RB - Jhurell Pressley (from Newark, DE)
WR - Josh Huff (former Eagles WR)
WR - Freddie Martino (former Eagles WR)
OT - Malcolm Bunche (former Eagles OT, from Newark, DE)
CB - Dexter McDougle (former Eagles CB)
CB - Randall Goforth (former Eagles CB)
Offensive Coordinator - Michael Vick (former Eagles QB)
QB - Aaron Murray (former Eagles QB)
S - Ed Reynolds Jr. (former Eagles S)
Defensive Coordinator - Rick Minter (former Eagles LB Coach)
RB - Brandon Ross (from Philadelphia, PA)
QB - Christian Hackenberg (former Penn State and Eagles QB)
OG - Dallas Thomas (former Eagles OG)
OT - Toby Weathersby (former Eagles OT)
LB - Quentin Gause (former Eagles LB)
P - Brad Wing (former Eagles P)
Safeties Coach - Lito Sheppard (former Eagles CB)
OT - Aaron Evans (former Eagles OT)
S - Jerome Couplin (former Eagles S)
TE - Anthony Denham (former Eagles TE)
OT - Leon Johnson (former Temple OT)
LB - Ed Shockley (formerly Villanova LB)
CB - CJ Smith (former Eagles CB)
Special Teams Coordinator/ Defensive Line Coach - Jeff McInerney (from Bethlehem, PA)
Cornerback Coach - Bill Bradley (former Eagles CB)
WR - Darius Prince (former Eagles & Philadelphia Soul WR)
WR - Greg Ward Jr. (former Eagles WR)
TE - Evan Rodriguez (former Lehigh Valley Steelhawks TE)|
DT - Winston Craig (former Eagles DT)|
DE - Danny Ezechukwu (former Eagles DE)
CB - De’Vante Bausby (former Eagles CB)
CB - Duke Thomas (former Eagles CB)
LB - Deion Barnes (former Penn State LB, from Philadelphia, PA)
Defensive Backs Coach - Eric Allen (former Eagles CB)
RB - Terrell Watson (former Eagles RB)
OG - Darrell Greene (former Eagles OG)
OT - Brett Boyko (former Eagles OT)
CB - Ron Brooks (former Eagles CB)
It’s pretty cool to see that every team has a connection to the Eagles in one way or another. The most notable names on this list are Eagles legend Eric Allen, Mike, who not so surprisingly ended up in ATL, Lito Sheppard, Ron Brooks, and Josh Huff. San Antonio far and away has the biggest connection to Philly, but as I said above, I’m not big on rooting for football teams from Texas.
Skimming through the rosters, it is obvious that most of these players are either recent NFL players who didn’t quite make the cut or players who didn’t get the opportunity to play at the NFL level. The only players who are coming from other football leagues (such as the AFL or CFL) seem to be some of the better players in those leagues. While this is obviously not going to be NFL level competition, it is pretty clear it will be the second highest level of competition available to football players.
Per Westgate, the odds for each team to win the championship for the inaugural season as are follows
- Arizona Hotshots +250
- Salt Lake Stallions +400
- San Antonio Commanders +500
- Orlando Apollos +500
- Atlanta Legends +500
- San Diego Fleet +1000
- Memphis Express +1000
- Birmingham Iron +1000
It appears that Arizona, the team in the green, is the favorite. The Philadelphia-connected Commanders are tied for the third best odds.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited that there will be football for another 3 months. It will be interesting to see how this league does, especially come 2020 when the new, revitalized XFL will be directly competing with it. While I will personally be rooting for each and every one of these former Eagles to succeed, I think I’m going to stick with the favorites in green, and root for the Arizona Hotshots.
What team will you root for in the AAF?
This poll is closed
Salt Lake Stallions
San Antonio Commanders
San Diego Fleet