As eight o’clock approached on Saturday night, my 6-year-old son and I sat down on the couch, ready to watch some Alliance of American Football league action! We had the team we were going to root for picked out – the Atlanta Legends because we are Michigan fans and Denard Robinson is one of their RBs – and we were excited to see a brand new league kickoff. (Of course, that did not happen because there are no kickoffs in the AAF)
I had already explained to my son that some of the rules in the AAF were different than the NFL, including the fact that teams must go for two every time they score a touchdown. This particular rule excited him because he always goes for two when he plays his video game!
So, after sitting and waiting for the actual game to begin (we thought it was an 8 pm start, it was actually past 8:30 when it began), things actually got underway. As the first quarter went on, it was apparent to me that we were not watching quality football. My son was enjoying it because he does not really have an eye for talent yet, but even he pointed out within five minutes of action that the quarterbacks were not very good at “throwing the ball.”
As I started to get bored, I decided to browse Twitter to see some of the reactions being thrown out and I was pretty surprised for the most part. People actually seemed to be enjoying the overall product. That being said, most of the compliments had to do with the different rules and the transparency during reviews, rather than the play on the field.
When the ratings came out for Opening Night, people were quick to point out that the AAF actually had better ratings than the Saturday night NBA game it was matched up against. Folks, that will not happen again, book it. The ratings were good because people felt the need to check out a new thing and that is it. Just watch over the next couple of months as those ratings plummet quickly.
So, the big question is, will the AAF – or as they like to call themselves, “The Alliance,” – be successful for years to come or will it fizzle out as other leagues have in the past?
My belief is the AAF cannot and will not make it on its own. The different rules are nice, for the most part (no kickoffs is boring), and it was fun to listen in as the replay booth discussed plays that were challenged, but that will not be enough. For the AAF to succeed, they will need the backing of the National Football League, which is what they are hoping for. If the NFL decides to truly treat the AAF as their minor league complement, and they pony up the cash to make that happen, it will probably work. (If we are not talking about ratings)
That being said, I am not yet sold the NFL truly needs the AAF and I am certainly not sold they are willing to finance it when it begins to fail on its own.
Here are 3 Reasons why the Alliance of American Football league WILL fail on its own.
Lack of Star Power/Elite Talent
If you have a chance, go to the AAF website and scroll down the rosters of the eight teams that make up the league. Sure, there are some familiar names you will run across, but for the most part, there are a bunch of guys who could not stick on an NFL roster or even some who never even played in an NFL training camp.
Because of that, there is a lack of star power and elite talent throughout the league. Sure, there will be a number of players who prove they are worthy of another shot in the NFL, but those will be few and far between.
For fans to keep coming back, the players have to “wow” them. Quarterbacks actually have to be able to throw the football at a high level and individuals have to show they have elite talent.
I just don’t see it at this point.
When the Super Bowl ended, many fans said what we hear every single year. “Damnit, what am I going to do for the next six months or so without football?” But the truth is, even the most die-hard football fans can deal with some time away from the game.
Instead of starting up immediately after the NFL season ended, the AAF should have waited a couple of months before starting up. By doing this, football fans would have had enough time away from the game they love to REALLY start to crave it once again.
What, are they worried about Major League Baseball stealing some of their fan base?
Unless you live in one of the eight cities currently with an AAF team, chances are you will lose interest in the league before long. If there was a team in Detroit (please make this happen), I would likely be all-in because that is how my mind works. I am willing to suffer along with my teams from the Motor City but if you think I lost any sleep because Denard Robinson and the Atlanta Legends got their butts handed to them in their first game, you have lost your mind.
For the AAF to truly be successful without financial backing from daddy (the NFL), they will have to figure out a way to keep the nation interested.
The plan is to expand to more teams as soon as possible, which would help, but that would just water down the talent level even further. Let’s face it, nobody wants to see guys who were not even great college players playing professional football.