The Alliance of American Football, The New Football.

No “League.” No “Association.” No “Union.” Just “The Alliance.” This is not the XFL. This is not the USFL. This will be “The Alliance.”  Coming to a TV, smart device, and/or computer screen near you in February 2019. The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is the next iteration of a professional football league.  Have you heard of this?  This is the brain child of Charlie Ebersol.

Charlie Ebersol isn’t a stranger to television. He is the son of Dick Ebersol. Note: Dick Ebersol helped develop Saturday Night Live and he is the brains behind the NBC sports we know today. He was also the co-founder of the XFL; and is serving on the board of directors for the AAF. He has been a producer in 18 different TV series or movies. He was the director of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about the XFL, the football league founded by his father and Vince McMahon.

Also worth noting: McMahon is planning on relaunching the XFL in 2020.  A year after Charlie Ebersol plans to launch the AAF.  However, there has been a lot of scrutiny towards McMahon and the ‘new’ XFL because most of the information put out about the league was rather ambiguous.  Where can we watch it?  Who are some of the sponsors?  There were no answers just a lot of ‘We are still looking for…’ kind of comments.

Ebersol presented the The AAF with a partnership with CBS Sports which will air the inaugural game and championship game on CBS.  The CBS Sports Network will air at least 1 game per week.  The AAF mobile app and website will live stream the other AAF games. Ebersol also spoke of the importance of an integrated fantasy football game and the important role it will play in the success of the AAF.
The AAF has a lot of internal names that lend to it a legitimate credibility.  The main investors in the AAF include: Peter Thiel‘s Founders FundThe Chernin Group (which owns Barstool Sports), Jared Allen, Slow VenturesAdrian FentyCharles King‘s M Ventures, and Keith Rabois.
Some of the important everyday members of the AAF include: Bill Polian, a former GM and Executive in the NFL and Hall of Fame Member is a Co-Founder and Head of Football.  Troy Polamalu, a 12 year NFL veteran, 8x Pro Bowler, 4x All-Pro, 2x Super Bowl Champion and 2010 Defensive Player of the year is the Head of Player Relations. Hines Ward is a Player Relations Executive.  Jared Allen is also a Player Relations Executive, as well as an investor in the AAF.  Justin Tuck is a member of the Player Engagements Board of Advisers.
 A cool thing that the AAF is doing for it’s players is planning player bonuses and scholarships. There will be player bonuses based on performance and fan interaction.  As well, players would earn a year’s scholarship in post-secondary education for each season of play.
The AAF will start out with 8 teams with each team playing a 10 game schedule.  The season will start after the NFL Super Bowl on February 9, 2019.  The rules for the AAF are simple.  Most of them are similar to the NFL, but there are a few different rules that are worth noting.
  • Teams will be made of 50 players on each roster.  Some of those players selected by a territorial draft.  Charlie Ebersol laid out the idea that the AAF is hoping to draw from the large pool of high-level college talent who didn’t make an NFL roster.  The draft will work for teams drawing from their local markets, similar to the early days of the NBA and it’s territorial pick system.
  • Telecasts will feature no television timeouts.  There will also be 60 percent fewer commercials.  The AAF is aiming for an approximate real-time game length of 150 minutes, down from just over 180 in the NFL.
  • All teams must attempt two-point conversions after each touchdown and there will be no extra point kicks.
  • There will be no kickoffs.  All possessions will begin on each team’s own 25-yard line, the same as touchbacks in the NFL and NCAA. The team that would be on defense can keep the ball, in lieu of an onside kick, by attempting a scrimmage play from their own 35-yard line and gaining at least 10 yards.
  • The play clock will run only 30 seconds.  A whole 10 seconds shorter than in the NFL, which will also cut down the game length.
  • Only two coach’s challenges per team are the only replays.  This is a throwback to trusting the Refs and their eyes.  Sure, there will still be complaints of how the refs are “killing me,” but the 2 challenges will be the rule… for now.
  • Outside organizations will handle head-safety protocols.  No team official or  member will have any influence on the concussion protocol.

Team locations and names have yet to be announced.  Info on how the AAF will be split, whether East/West or North/South is yet to be disclosed. All that information is expected to be announced this summer.  I have some ideas for this.  Specifically, there are some cities that are now missing NFL teams and have stadiums or arenas that could hold a football team.  San Diego and St. Louis come to mind.  I’m sure they would welcome back some professional.

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