Have you heard of the Birmingham Iron or the Memphis Express? Maybe not. Or maybe not yet. The Alliance of American Football League was formed to be a springboard league into the NFL. The schedule kicks off in under two weeks on CBS. For the most part, NFL fans probably have no clue or much interest in a spring league. Or at least that was the thought coming into 2019.
The NFL’s Faux Pas Couldn’t Come at a Better Time for the AAF
Alliance of American Football is Here to Stay
However, the latest NFL controversial no call was simply an early Christmas present for a league that hasn’t even kicked off yet. Surely, the skeptics will outnumber the believers that any league can survive long term against the big bad bully NFL league that is pretty much untouchable. Even with the missteps of late, the NFL brand is very solid. No one will doubt that. Still, there are plenty of reasons to believe that a new football league can be profitable and entertaining during the offseason.
Obviously, there’s a market out there since there is going to be three leagues eventually in total. Furthermore, with the right leadership and vision, the AAF could be around for awhile.
Of course, starting a new league isn’t original. There have been many flops including the USFL and the old XFL years ago. But a decade or two later bodes well to at least market a good product on the field.
Birmingham Iron is Top Notch
Last week, I attended two days of training camp in San Antonio watching the Birmingham Iron. All eight teams were in training camp in San Antonio in different stadiums. But there was something that attracted me to the Birmingham Iron in particular. First, the city seemed to be a perfect place for a franchise. The city of Birmingham is more than ready for more football. And having familiar faces help market a team.
Additionally, the roster has some intriguing prospects that includes many former NFL players like running back Trent Richardson and long time punter Nick Novak. But the feeling of professionalism and sincerity started immediately upon arrival.
Every single person from the communications person to the coaches had an NFL type feel to it.
”I’m very excited and humbled to have this great opportunity. I’ve always wanted to be a head coach and the Alliance gave me the opportunity. The goal is to put together a championship team for this city and this state,” coach Tim Lewis stated.
Alabama Players Help Sell the Identity
Lewis inherits an abundance of talent from the NFL, colleges, and players looking for that one shot. Additionally, the roster is filled with plenty of players from the state of Alabama including: Troy, South Alabama, and Auburn. QB Blake Sims is just one name that stands out among many.
Surely, the success of the AAF depends on how effective the league works together. And what’s interesting is the placement of all the cities. Every city except Atlanta doesn’t have any NFL team at the moment. It’s going to be critical to the leagues success to start building an alliance between fans and their respective teams. A huge press release came out from the NFL Network today.
The NFL Network is carrying 19 games in total through April. This is huge and not by accident. Evidently, there is a desire from the NFL for this alternative league to work. And it just makes sense.
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) January 8, 2019
“It’s gonna give young guys a chance and an opportunity to play for a team. It’s going to give guys time to develop especially young quarterbacks and young offensive lineman,” Rivera said.
The Alliance of American Football League has a better chance now than ever before. The key going forward is to keep the momentum going through the Spring in April.