AAF 101: A Crash Course On The Alliance Of American Football

It is with a substantial level of excitement that we must acknowledge, for the first time in a very, very long time, football did not end with a thud at the conclusion of Sunday night’s snooze fest of a Super Bowl.

The Alliance of American Football kicks off this weekend with eight teams of 52 players embarking upon its inaugural 10-week season.

For most part, pigskin is pigskin, so the learning curve for fans of the new league will be relatively minor.

Of course, there are a few notable nuances worth mentioning, along with a whole bunch of pivotal players, coaches and leaders involved. With that in mind, we’ve cooked up a little AAF appetizer to get you acclimated ahead of time.

The Teams

Again, the AAF consists of eight teams:

  • Arizona Hotshots
  • Atlanta Legends
  • Birmingham Iron
  • Memphis Express
  • Orlando Apollos
  • Salt Lake Stallions
  • San Antonio Commanders
  • San Diego Fleet

The Schedule

The season kicks off with San Diego at San Antonio, while Atlanta visits Orlando, on Saturday, Feb. 8. The remaining four teams will take the field on Sunday.

From there, it’s 10 weeks of action with no byes, with all but one regular season game (San Antonio at Salt Lake on Friday, April 12) played on either Saturday or Sunday.

The semifinals will be played April 20-21, followed by the league’s inaugural championship game on Saturday, April 27.

The Coaches

One of the most impressive things about the AAF is its roster of coaches. These are names we all know and for good reason.

  • Rick Neuheisel (Hotshots)
  • Kevin Coyle (Legends)
  • Tim Lewis (Iron)
  • Mike Singletary (Express)
  • Steve Spurrier (Apollos)
  • Dennis Erickson (Stallions)
  • Mike Riley (Commanders)
  • Mike Martz (Fleet)

Additionally, the league is home to an intriguing list of assistants, including Legends offensive coordinator Michael Vick and Apollos defensive coordinator Bob Sanders.

The In-Game Difference

The runtime of an AAF game will differ significantly than what we’ve become used to with the NFL and NCAA.

There will be zero television timeouts, which means in the ballpark of 60 percent fewer commercials and a half-hour shorter game than the NFL.

Additional unique wrinkles include:

  • No kickoffs. Teams will simply start each possession at their own 25-yard line.
  • No onside kicks. Instead, teams will have the option to make-it-take-it, so to speak, beginning a new drive with 4th and 10 from their own 35. Convert and they keep the ball.
  • No extra points. Two-point conversions only.

The Players

These guys aren’t strangers.

Former Alabama great Trent Richardson will be carrying the rock for Birmingham. Bishop Sankey and Josh Johnson will be in the backfield at running back and quarterback, respectively, for San Diego.

Other notables include:

  • Trevor Knight, Hotshots (QB) — Oklahoma
  • BJ Daniels, Stallions (QB) — South Florida
  • David Cobb, Commanders (RB) — Minnesota
  • Daryl Richardson, Commanders (RB) — Six-year NFL vet out of Abiliene Christian
  • Matt Asiata, Stallions (RB) — Six-year NFL vet out of Utah
  • Will Hill, Apollos (DB) — Florida
  • Christian Hackenberg, Express (QB) — Penn State
  • Zach Mettenberger, Express (QB) — LSU
  • Zac Stacy, Express (RB) — Vanderbilt
  • Aaron Murray, Legends (QB) — Georgia
  • Stephen Hill, Legends (WR) — Georgia Tech
  • Scooby Wright, Hotshots (DE) — Arizona

The Leadership & Its Purpose

The league was co-founded by filmmaker Charlie Ebersol and former NFL general manager Bill Polian.

Troy Polamalu is the head of players relations. Hines Ward and Jared Allen are players relations executives. Justin Tuck will serve on the player engagement board of advisors.

Unlike the XFL — both 1.0 and the coming second iteration — the AAF is not designed to compete against the NFL. Rather, it is being positioned as a complement and a means for further player development.

In addition to respectable player salaries, the athletes competing in this league will be compensated in the form of bonuses for performance-based statistical achievements, good ol’ fashioned wins and “fan engagement.”

What does that last part mean? That’s still a little unclear, but the overarching concept, here, seems to be the encouragement of player-fan interaction. By incentivizing engagement with the new fans of this league, the AAF seems to be attempting to bridge the gap between athlete and a non-athletic regular person.

It’s also worth mentioning that scholarships will be part of the player compensation package, as the league looks to encourage its pros to begin building a post-playing career plan for continued success.


The AAF will play its games on CBS and the NFL Network.

Beyond that, we’ll be digging into the developments of the league on FloFootball throughout the season, and you know we’ll work it into bi-weekly episodes of BOOTLEG

NFL Draft: The 2019 All-Upside Offense

Marquis Young Had Himself A Day

With the 2019 NFL Draft rapidly approaching, draft boards are set and the waiting game is well underway for most NFL teams.

SEC Spring Game Roundup

While spring game szn kicked off last weekend, it was in full swing this weekend (April 12/13) as over 50 spring scrimmages went down from coast to coast. 

FloSports, SPIRE Announce Multiyear Partnership To Air Freedom Bowl

Freedom Bowl Highlights

Today, FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, and SPIRE, announced a multiyear partnership to provide live and on-demand coverage of the Freedom Bowl on FloFootball.com through 2022. 

Big 12 Spring Game Roundup

While spring game szn kicked off last weekend, it was in full swing this weekend (April 12 & 13) as over 50 spring scrimmages went down from coast to coast. 

Diamonds In The Rough: 3 Sleeper Running Backs To Watch

Each season, during the months leading up to and immediately following the NFL Draft, we hear about ‘diamonds in the rough.’ 

7 Players To Watch During The Michigan Spring Game

The Michigan spring game is Saturday at 5 PM ET, giving Wolverines fans who can’t make the trek to Ann Arbor, Mich., the opportunity to watch—and overreact, of course—to the performance of a team for which the expectations will be sky high in 2019.

Freedom Bowl Sets 2019 Matchups

Freedom Bowl Highlights

The Freedom Bowl released its 2019 schedule on Tuesday and, friends, the second iteration of this baby is loaded for bear.

April 5 & 6 FBS Spring Game Roundup

It's officially spring game szn. This weekend over 20 FBS spring games went down across the country and below we'll take a look at the biggest storylines from coast to coast.

Defenses Are Countering Offensive Ingenuity With The Combo Safety

Football hasn’t really changed much since Princeton and Rutgers decided to partake in a physical discussion in Central New Jersey back in 1869. 

Grainy Game Of The Week: 1998 Arkansas at Tennessee

Guys, we have a new recurring (probably) concept that you can file under “ideas that probably aren’t lame.” We’re going to call it our Grainy Game of the Week.