Alliance of American Football League

Will Locklin, Staff Writer

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The Alliance of American League is a new professional football league that started a week after the Super Bowl. The association was founded by Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian, Ebersol, the former president of NBC sports president and Polian a former NFL analyst for NFL Network. Polian has said “We will give players an opportunity to flourish on the field while establishing plans to support their personal and professional growth, health, safety and financial well-being”. The AAF has eight teams, all in locations without an NFL team (except Atlanta). Teams play a twelve-week schedule, February through April and the top four teams will qualify for the playoffs. Each team has a 52 man roster, and every player gets 3-year contracts for two hundred thousand dollars. The AAF also has several television deals with CBS, NFL Network and TNT so games will be easily accessible for the public to watch. Overall the AAF seems to have a good structure and fan base to stick around for the long run.

The most notable problem with the AAF is the negative history with other American football leagues. Leagues like the USFL and XFL have tried to compete with the NFL and give fans football in the spring. One reason for their failure was due to their owner’s desire to make the respective leagues direct competitors with the NFL. This along with other bad management decisions put both leagues in significant debt and caused the leagues to fail. However, the AAF will not run into this problem because their goal is to be a developmental league instead of a competing league. If a player plays well in the AAF, then they will have a chance to be signed by an NFL team, similar to the G league or the minor leagues in baseball. The major problem that the league has faced three weeks into their existence is that they needed a 250 million dollar investment from the Carolina Hurricanes majority owner, Tom Dundon. If the AAF is going to be successful, they must find a way to make money instead of losing money.

However, there are many areas in which the AAF is starting to excel at, including the players in their league. Players in the AAF consist of former college players who didn’t make the NFL immediately. Now they not only get paid but also have a chance to make their NFL dreams come true. There are also former NFL busts hoping to make a comeback. The AAF also has a lot of support from both college and NFL fans. Since the AAF starts right after the NFL ends, fans can still have more football virtually year round. The style of play in the AAF takes advantages of what fans are growing tired of in the NFL. The NFL has been criticized for their terrible overtime rules, softer play in games due to player safety concerns, and controversial calls made by referees. The AAF improves the game of football in these areas by having different overtime rules and allowing fans to see refs review calls during games. Additionally, players are allowed to hit harder and more often which intrigues more fans of the game. Finally, the AAF has several successful former coaches and managers that know both the business and technical or in-game side of the football. Overall, the AAF will work because they have the support of the NFL, fans, and players.

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