We’ve all heard by now that the XFL is going to be rebooted in 2020, though we don’t really know a lot of the details behind it yet. However, there’s another new startup league that appears to be ready to get the jump on the XFL by starting up a year earlier. . .and, by all accounts, it appears that they’re already a bit better organized.
The Alliance of American Football is set to kick off its inaugural season the weekend after the Minnesota Vikings win Super Bowl LIII. Yes, on 9 February 2019. . .which is less than eleven months away. . .the league is set to get underway. They will roll out the list of cities that will be hosting their eight teams next month. The league will feature a 10-game regular season and four teams in the playoffs, with the championship game set to take place on the weekend of 26-28 April.
Unless I miss my guess, that would put the AAF Championship Game the same weekend as the 2019 NFL Draft, though I’m guessing the game could be done on a Sunday so they wouldn’t have to compete against it directly. Or, perhaps, they want to compete directly against it. Why knows, honestly?
The main forces behind the league are Charlie Ebersol, the son of legendary NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol, and former NFL GM Bill Polian. There are a lot of NFL players that are involved with the startup of the league, including Jared Allen, the former Minnesota Vikings’ defensive end and future Hall of Famer. Hopefully it won’t derail his curling practices too much.
More importantly, the AAF already has a television deal, as they are partnered with CBS. The league’s debut and the championship game will both be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network, and they will also be airing one regular season game each week. The rosters will be made up mostly of players that have been cut from other leagues, whether it’s the NFL or CFL or what have you, as well as stars from indoor football leagues. The league will also have bonuses for performance and “fan interaction,” as well as an app that will stream games free of charge.
The AAF is going to have plenty of rules designed to speed up the game, including the elimination of kickoffs, much like they currently do in the NFL Pro Bowl. Instead, as they do in the Pro Bowl, each team will simply take over at the 25-yard line. Now, this also eliminates the option of the onside kick, but the AAF has an interesting way of dealing with that.
Should a team decide that they want to try to keep the ball after a score, they will have the option of attempting a “4th-and-10” play from their own 35-yard line. If they convert the play, they get to keep the football. If they don’t, then their opponent would get possession on what would be a very short field.
So, if you’re looking for your spring football fix. . .and I’m sure there are many that have been looking for such a thing for quite a while. . .we won’t have to wait until the XFL kicks off in 2020 to be able to do that. It’s less than a year away, as things stand right now.