AAF: Spring Football League or Barking Dog with a Lisp?
In the annals of pro football from 1960 onward, upstart leagues have gone 1-2 straight up against the NFL's dominance:
- The American Football League forced a merger, which worked out rather well,
- The World Football League blew up in 1975 in the midst of their second season, and
- The United States Football League found out that when Donald Trump said he alone could fix it, they shoulda realized instead that it really does take a village.
So now, the fight for secondary pro football survival has moved to winter and spring.
- The XFL, which flamed out so spectacularly in 2001, is returning in family-friendly fashion next year, but
- The Alliance of American Football is lighting the inaugural match this weekend:
The faux onside kick sounds kinda nifty as a safety-first kinda thing.
Then there's budget-first, safety-second with their blitz rule. The league ...
... might or might not be a bit short on cash for QBs, but it's really light on QBs who are at the Ryan Tannehill level.
So, here's the blitz rule, which reads like a protection order:
- No more than five players may rush on passing plays;
- Any player who aligns on the line of scrimmage either prior to or at the snap is designated as one of the five players regardless of whether he rushes;
- No defensive player may rush from a position more than two yards outside the widest offensive lineman and more than five yards from the line of scrimmage (they’ll call it the “defensive pressure box”);
- A player is deemed eligible to rush if he has both feet inside the box at the snap;
- No more than four players may rush from the same side of the ball;
- Adjacent linebackers may not rush from the same side of the ball; and
- Two or more linebackers aligned between the offensive guards may not rush.
Anyway, the AAF's gonna make it more challenging to injure them.
One innovation they're introducing that'll be high on the approval list is no TV timeouts.
That begs the question as to whether there'll be televised games, but of course there will. This is football combined with the curiosity factor, so look to CBS to fill their Saturday night ratings graveyard with it. They've signed a 10-year agreement, so they're all in.
Speaking of video, replays are limited. Each team only gets two, which the head coach calls.
Fans should like the 35-second play clock, too. More action, less hanging around watching the time tick away between plays.
As to coaches, the AAF picked up a few dudes with a bitta name recognition, like ...
- Rick Neuheisel in Arizona,
- Mike Singletary in Memphis,
- Dennis Erickson in Salt Lake,
- Mike Riley in San Antonio, and
- Mike Martz in San Diego.
Par for the course, really. The AAF's not even one day old and they're recycling coaches.
The league went territorial in allocating players:
Here is everything you need to know about The Alliance Player Allocation process.— The Alliance (@TheAAF) July 12, 2018
Associated college and professional teams will be released by Alliance City Team. Get ready to #JoinTheAlliance pic.twitter.com/AtN2cMCrYi
It's no surprise there'll be a number of recycled NFL names on the roster, too.
Do know the AAF has embraced betting, big time.
It'll be next year when the XFL battles for fans in winter and spring that the survival grind begins in earnest.