The NFL may be finished for another season, but football doesn’t stop! In fact, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) gets underway today (February 9th) with the San Diego Fleet playing the San Antonio Commanders, while the Atlanta Legends battle the Orlando Apollos. The action kicks off at 5:30 PM PT on CBS, although the game you get depends on where you’re located.
For curious eyes, ESPN’s Brady Henderson has put in the work to spotlight which former Seattle Seahawks — they’ve at least been on a preseason roster — are in the AAF, which universally has salaries of three years, worth $250,000.
Arizona Hotshots: LB Obum Gwacham, C Patrick Lewis
Birmingham Iron: DB Trovon Reed
Memphis Express: RB Terrence Magee, OL Robert Myers, WR Damore’ea Stringfellow, DL Julius Warmsley;
Orlando Apollos: WR Marvin Bracy, LB Terrence Garvin, LB Jacob Pugh
Salt Lake Stallions: DT Sealver Siliga
San Diego Fleet: LB John Lotulelei, DE Damontre Moore, LB Eric Pinkins, OT Terry Poole, DT Tani Tupou
Lewis is the most notable Seahawk in the sense that he replaced the woefully overmatched Drew Nowak as center in the 2015 season. He was waived after the 2016 season, which was when Justin Britt was moved to that spot.
As for some of the innovative rules this developmental league has decided on? Well here’s a sampling.
It would’ve been way cooler if this was a referee who was literally suspended from a cable over the field, but that’s not the case.
“The AAF will have a ninth member of the officiating crew, called a sky judge who will be in the press box and can instantly correct “obvious and egregious” officiating errors. The sky judge will use real-time technology to correct clear errors involving player safety anytime during a game and pass interference inside of five minutes left in the fourth quarter.”
Teams automatically get the ball at the 25, with the coin toss winner either receiving the ball at the 25 first, or deferring to the 2nd half.
No Extra Points
Go for two all the time.
No Overtime Kicks
You have four downs from the ten-yard line to score a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Field goals are not allowed.
No Onside Kicks
Onside kicks in the NFL have become nearly impossible due to rule changes. The AAF’s experiment works like this: “If a team is trailing by 17 points or more inside of five minutes remaining in a game, they must convert a fourth-and-12 from their 28 in order to keep the ball.”
If they convert, the offense keeps going. If not, the opposition takes over the ball from the spot of that play.
You can’t rush more than five
“Illegal defense” will be a 15-yard penalty in AAF. I guess it’s bad television if sub-par quarterbacks are panicking at the sight of a jailbreak blitz. To be more specific:
“On defense, no more than five players may rush on passing plays. No defensive player may rush from a position of more than two yards outside the widest offensive lineman and more than five yards from the line of scrimmage. The exceptions would be play-action or run-pass option plays and if the ball leaves the tackle box.”
In the interest of keeping the game moving along, the play clock is reduced to 35 seconds from the NFL’s 40, and there are no TV timeouts. It should cut total game time by 30 minutes.
So if you’re intrigued, check it out this weekend, and see if it’s worth your time beyond just Week 1.