The National Football League is approaching its’ climax, as the 2018 season is all but over. However, there will still be football to watch after the Super Bowl. For those who need a year-round football fix, the Alliance of American Football will kick off its’ inaugural season the Saturday after the Super Bowl. While the competition won’t match the level of the NFL, quite a few NFL veterans found their way into the league. This is certainly the case for the Atlanta Legends, who possess more than their fair share of intriguing players.
Alliance of American Football: Getting to Know The Atlanta Legends
SEC fans should remember Atlanta Legends starting quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray spent four seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs, compiling 13,166 passing yards, 121 touchdowns, and 41 interceptions. Interestingly, Murray’s 121 touchdown passes remains a career record for SEC quarterbacks.
Murray also spent parts of four seasons in the National Football League. The Georgia product initially entered the NFL as the Kansas City Chiefs fifth-round pick in the 2014 Draft. Murray spent two seasons as a backup before losing his job during 2016’s spring training. From there, Murray made a few cameos with the Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, and Los Angeles Rams.
Murray never threw a pass in the NFL, as his somewhat underwhelming skill set never earned him a spot on the field. However, the lower level of competition should mask Murray’s physical shortcomings. Murray proved in college that he has what it takes to be a good player against strong competition. The 28-year old quarterback was always considered a cerebral passer and he should be one of the top arms in the AAF.
The Atlanta Legends enter their inaugural season led by head coach Kevin Coyle. Coyle has experience in the college and NFL landscape, serving as defensive coordinator for Holy Cross, Syracuse, Maryland, Fresno State, and the Miami Dolphins. Prior to joining the AAF, Coyle most recently served as a defensive analyst for LSU. Coyle’s no Bill Belichick, but his wide array of experience makes him an ideal head coaching candidate for the start-up league.
Joining him in the coaching room is offensive coordinator Michael Vick. Vick was synonymous for his jaw-dropping playmaking ability and unparalleled athleticism, but now the former quarterback is taking a stab at coaching. You can’t play quarterback in the NFL without being smart, so Vick definitely has the brains for the job. However, he lacks experience. Prior to taking the offensive coordinator position, Vick’s only coaching experience came when he was a coaching intern for Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs. Vick represents a high-risk, high-reward offense. If he’s able to incorporate his patented explosiveness into the Legends’ offense, then the sky’s the limit for Atlanta’s offense.
Other Notable Players
If the Aaron Murray experiment doesn’t work out, the Legends have an interesting backup plan in Matt Simms. Son of New York Giants legend Phil Simms, the 30-year old quarterback spent part of two seasons with the New York Jets back in 2013 and 2014. Throughout his NFL career, Simms completed 48.7% of his passes for 195 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Joining Simms on the roster is one of his old teammates. Wide receiver Stephen Hill spent a portion of two seasons with the New York Jets before making a brief cameo with the Carolina Panthers. During his three years in the NFL, Hill recorded 45 receptions for 594 yards and four touchdowns. As a collegiate, Hill recorded 49 receptions for 1,248 yards and nine touchdowns with Georgia Tech. While his numbers don’t jump off the page, Hill is a freak athlete with serious athletic potential. The Jets thought they could coach up that potential, and selected the 6’4”, 215-pound receiver in the second round. It seems unlikely, but perhaps Michael Vick can find a way to unlock Hill’s potential in the AAF.
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