AAF Provides New Alternative for Football Fans


Nick Lorensen and Cameron McHugh

Football is back! But not in the form we are used to. There is a new league offering new beginnings for players and changes to the game Americans know and love. 

This league is called the Alliance of American Football, and it is a new alternative to the National Football League, providing football fans with the same quality product with just a couple minor changes. 

The league was the idea of NFL Hall of Famer Bill Polian and Dick Ebersol’s son Charlie. The opening season of the Alliance will contain eight teams in cities around the nation and will be kicked off on Saturday February 9. Ironically, due to game rule differences, there will be NO kickoffs.  

In the AAF there are a couple of different rules. There are no kickoffs, and each drive starts at the team’s own 25-yard line. Also, there are no extra points. Teams must go for a 2-point conversion, and can only blitz five players at a time. Lastly, there are no onside kicks. If you want to get the ball back, you have to convert a 4th and 12.  

Opening teams will be the Arizona Hotshots, Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Orlando Apollos, Salt Lake Stallions, San Antonio Commanders, and San Diego Fleet. All games will be aired on CBS, TNT, CBS Sports, NFL Network and Bleacher Report Live. Later in the season, they will be releasing an AAF app where fans can stream all games. 

“I can’t wait to watch this league throughout the spring,” said sophomore Bardan Kafle. “Even though competition might be lacking, it still allows us to watch football when the NFL isn’t on. I have high hopes for this league.” 

Each team has their fair share of former college and NFL stars such as Trent Richardson (Birmingham), Aaron Murray (Atlanta), and former Raven Will Hill (Orlando). 

In a local connection, during training camp, former CHS wide receiver Deniko Carter worked out with the Atlanta Legends but ended up getting released. Carter attended CHS from 2008-2012 and holds places on the program’s record books. He was a two-way player in his time here, playing both safety and wide receiver. Carter then went on to attend West Georgia University where he caught the eye of some Ravens front office members. Carter played for the Ravens practice squad in the preseason before being cut from there, too. 

Coming into the season, the Arizona Hotshots were favorites at 5/2 odds in the Las Vegas Sportsbook. Following them in the projected standings are the Salt Lake City Stallions, San Antonio Commanders, Orlando Apollos, Atlanta Legends, San Diego Fleet, Memphis Express and Birmingham Iron.  

There are no local teams, but each team has NFL and college affiliates. Maryland’s affiliate the Birmingham Iron have former Terps, Brandon Ross, Amba Etta-Tawo, Michael Dunn, and Nick Novak. The Ravens affiliate are the Arizona Hotshots. Any player cut and not signed by another NFL team has the option to go and play with the Hotshots in a NBA G-League type situation. 

Games will be played every Saturday and Sunday for 10 weeks leading up April 14. Thereafter is a 4-team playoff, leading up to the championship in Las Vegas. Games start this Saturday at 8:00 pm on CBS. There will be shuffle coverage on Saturday at 8:00 when Atlanta visits Orlando and San Diego visits San Antonio.