AAF (RIP), XFL, and other non-NFL Professional American FootbALL

A catch-all in celebration of the AAF opening today! I need an AAF team.

Edited title. Congrats to the Orlando Apollos, the de-facto AAF all-time champions!

I need a team too!
I do love the look of the rule variations they are trying, particularly replacing kickoffs. Also the faster playclock and less advertising breaks will make it way more passable as viewing experience.

Even the mobile app is cool. I hope this league has legs.

Matt Simms doesn't look too bad, but he's probably the most accomplished QB in the league.

Edit: Sorry, Matt, my comment just caused you to be intercepted.

Yeah I'm watching, what the hell.

QB catching TD? Fun

My area was playing San Antonio and San Diego. I liked San Diego's outfits but couldn't really find it in me to root for either team. The audio was kind of having issues and there were a couple other things that made it a bit rough to watch, but I saw some interesting plays I think. I'll keep giving it a shot but it's gonna be rough without having a team I feel passionate about.

Liked the faster play clock, though. I'd keep watching but I'm just plum tired tonight.

I thought I'd be watching the equivalent of the Pro Bowl, instead I'm getting the Super Bowl.

Oh yeah Atlanta Orlando here. Spurrier having fun winning

Why do the refs look like they're wearing bullet proof vests? It's not like they called Rams-Saints last month.

37-6 over here. Wish they'd switch games.

They definitely have some wrinkles to iron out from the production side. They had players miced up and you could hear play calls through the mics. Oops.

garion333 wrote:

They definitely have some wrinkles to iron out from the production side. They had players miced up and you could hear play calls through the mics. Oops.

Yeah, the commentators were trying to make it sound like this was a good thing, but given how much you could hear the players talking with the coach I was wincing. "This isn't stuff that's meant to be heard".

Either that or whoever's on audio duties needs to know when to mute the player mics.

I'll probably watch some AAF, but I'm waiting for the XFL, as St. Louis will have a team.

Still not convinced the XFL actually happens, though.

Jayhawker wrote:

I'll probably watch some AAF, but I'm waiting for the XFL, as St. Louis will have a team.

Still not convinced the XFL actually happens, though.

The players of the XFL will stand for the anthem and keep standing and scratching their heads why their offense keeps going three and out.

Wow. I had no idea this was happening. Glad to see Birmingham has a team again....now if only people would attend games, then maybe a non-NFL league has a chance of lasting.

I say this while figuratively staring at my reflection in the mirror, as I didn't attend a single game of the Birmingham Bolts in 2001 while I lived not 10 miles away from Legion Field. Never missed a game on TV at least...

Now there's not just the AAF, but the XFL is actually returning? Kinda feels like the Twilight Zone. I remember the XFL in 2001 starting off really rocky, but by the end was presenting a pretty good product. Too bad that almost nobody cared anymore at that point.

EDIT: Just watched Birmingham-Memphis. I like the Iron's defense. Not sure how much of them looking good is due to Memphis' offense being sloppy, but if they keep learning, Bham's defense could be a standout of the league.

Birmingham's QB, Perez, also showed a great deal of poise in the pocket imo.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was how Trent Richardson was bottled up almost all game.

...and not overturning that long reception by Birmingham which finally led to the game's first TD was BS. There is no way whatsoever that the brown streak that hit the grass in the replay was anything other than the ball.

Overall, it was an entertaining, if at times sloppy - which was almost expected - first AAF game for me.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was how Trent Richardson was bottled up almost all game.

Was it?
It was?
You serious?
Srsly?

I can't find the right what to show my shock at your statement.

I watch a good chunk of two AAF games this weekend, and I've set YouTube TV to tape everything.

Here's some notes I wrote out while watching the games:

The level of play was striking in how normal it all looked. It's NFL preseason quality, which of course it should be given the talent level. Quarterbacking is absolutely the limiting factor. But this league will absolutely put players back into NFL camps and into the league itself.

The blitz rules are very interesting. To put them simply: you can rush up to 5 players, no more. Anyone that puts their hand on the ground counts as a rusher, regardless of if they rush or not. Anyone standing up has to be within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, and no more than 2 yards wider than the offensive tackles. And as for standing players, you can't send 2 guys that are next to each other on a blitz (ie. overloading one side of the line with a blitz).

Basically, these rules prevent corner blitzes, safety blitzes (unless the safety lines up like a linebacker), overload blitzes, anything more exotic than a standard 5 man blitz. For a developmental league, this makes a lot of sense, as it prevents defensive coordinators from just blitzing the lesser QB talent into oblivion.

Coaches clearly had some issues with this, as illegal defense was perhaps the most called penalty in the games I watched. One play I saw was just a naked 6 man blitz. Another play, though, had a linebacker who initially looked like he was running up to blitz but peeled off to man cover the running back. That the refs flagged it made me wonder if they simply misinterpreted the play, or if they are intentionally going to flag plays that disguise themselves as an illegal blitz. This is going to be something I watch closely in future games.

(I wrote this during the game and so AUs_TBirD's post beat me to the punch on bringing him up, but anyway):
I have an early pick for favorite player: Luis Perez, quarterback of Birmingham. He's a Latino kid from Chula Vista, his dad a former pro soccer player in Mexico. In high school he was a bowler, looking at becoming a professional bowler, until football caught his attention. He only played junior varsity ball in high school, a wide receiver in a Wing-T offense (read: not much passing). He played football at a local JC in Chula Vista, making the team as the 9th guy on a 9 man QB depth chart, eventually ascending to the starter. Then he went to a D-II school and led them to a national championship. He was a UDFA signing to Rams camp and made the practice squad but was cut from it during the season. Everyone describes him as a smart, studious kid. The broadcast announcers couldn't stop talking about their meeting with him. He's exactly the kind of late-bloomer type this sort of league is for.

I think CBS wants their ex-player color commentators to be like Tony Romo. Trent Green recognized and explained some calls from Mike Martz's offense, while Adam Archuleta got into some jargon like 21 personnel. They were clearly empowered and encouraged to get into some of this. The broadcast would catch some plays being called, and Archuleta would explain the call before the snap. Not as much predictive magic as Romo, but I don't doubt Romo's name has come up in production meetings.

Red zone offenses struggled mightily in the games I watched.

Kickers really have jack sh*t to do most of the game. Not only are there no kickoffs, but no PATs either. It's go out there ice cold and kick field goals.

Christian Hackenberg is BAD oh my god: 10-of-23, 67 yards, INT. Then the field mics repeatedly caught him cursing, which of course is something CBS has to be aware of when sticking mics everywhere. Archuleta spent the whole game waiting for Hackenberg to throw something besides underneath slants and drag routes. He didn't say it with the snark we would have, of course, but he repeatedly noted Hackenberg not making any throws outside the numbers.

Mike Singletary's team (Memphis) looked far less prepared and well coached than their Birmingham opponents. They struggled with the illegal defense calls. By the second quarter, Adam Archuleta had picked up on Hackenberg's snap count call ("Monday" = go on 1, and he rarely seemed to call any other snap count), a cadence that I expect Birmingham figured out as well. (Birmingham's QB did not appear to have any such easily identifiable snap count call). And, well, they started Christian Hackenberg. There's no way Mettenberger would have been worse than that.

For anyone that wants to get into the weeds with the blitz rules: there is an exception for play-action passes. Since defenders will of course attack the line of scrimmage on a play that appears to be a run, defenses are not penalized for too many rushing defenders on a play-action pass. As an interesting side effect, I think we saw less play-action passing than we might otherwise would have.

Finally, Chad Kelly is showing himself off in training on Twitter, throwing passes, so it's time for an AAF team to grab him, please.

I predict next week's post will be half the length of the first if that.

I think the greatest aspect of Romo's "magic" and the idea of it spreading to other color guys, is that fans may actually get educated on why teams run the plays they do. Every post game call-in show, Twitter, and Gameday threads from around the internet is full of people that complain about play calling without even basic understanding of strategy and the all of the the data that goes into designing a gameplan.

Sometimes the play calling is terrible. But mostly, the average fan just complains about play calling when their team is getting beat. The ESPN Matchup show does a decent job of this, although the show is nowhere near as good as it was years ago. But you start to see how plays set up other plays, and how teams adjust to personal and formations.

So when everyone is a complaining about Gurley not getting the ball in the Super bowl, my first assumption was that Belicheck had the data that told him which defensive formations and personal would cause the Rams to throw instead of run.

Then I saw he sent two plays in to his dense all game. One to show, and then one to get into after the play clock hit 15 seconds, which means Goff would have had to figure this out on his own.

Whats funny is that it kind of what I do when playing MUT against players that are clearly better than me at reading defenses and such. I began audibling to the opposite coverage after they go through all of their hot routes. I may have no idea what they are going do, but I know that they basing it on what defense and coverage I am in. So I audible from zone to man or man to zone. If I think they are figuring out what I am doing, and 90% of those guys don't, then I start fake audibling.

Sometimes just changing is enough, even when I have no clue why.

garion333 wrote:
AUs_TBirD wrote:

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was how Trent Richardson was bottled up almost all game.

I can't find the right what to show my shock at your statement.

Well, tbh, since I haven't watched an NFL game in at least 10 years, the last time I think I saw Richardson play was for Alabama, where he counts as one of those legendary running backs in my mind.

Reading up on his time since Alabama revealed to me 1) just how poorly things have gone for him, and 2) Holy crap! It's been 7 years since he left college!

IMAGE(http://www.thedrawplay.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/AAFCatch.png)

Jayhawker wrote:

So when everyone is a complaining about Gurley not getting the ball in the Super bowl, my first assumption was that Belicheck had the data that told him which defensive formations and personal would cause the Rams to throw instead of run.

Or McVay had a gameplan that was terrible but he continued running it over and over again anyway (see 11 personnel).

The Pats ran their D exactly like the Lions did and it worked just like it did in that game. I honestly don't know why McVay couldn't come up with something different to counteract what the Pats were doing. It's not like they hadn't seen it before! They saw it week after week in the last half of the season.

That throw is dope. Who else could make that? Nobody!

Good to know Phillip Nelson is allowed to play football again instead of being in prison. Oh wait, that’s the opposite of good.

They seriously have two teams playing in slightly different shades of purple, and both with similar coloured helmets?
I found it really hard to distinguish those teams apart, and the golden epaulets on one team are not enough!

I think the other jerseys are gray, but that’s why one team supposed to wear white. Really weird.

Tom Dundon, the supplier of said $250m, describes the situation

“There’s a difference between commitments and funding,” Dundon said. “They had the commitments to last a long time, but maybe not the money in the bank. My money is in my bank. I’m sure of it.”

(...)

“They didn’t have a permanent solution like I provided.”

Dundon said with his investment, the league’s future was now secure.

“That’s enough money to run this league for a long time,” he said with the kind of laugh only a billionaire can laugh. “We’re good for many years to come with what I just did.”

The way to make a small fortune in these off-brand pro football leagues:

Start with a large fortune!

IMAGE(https://media1.tenor.com/images/22fdd18ba109b2b6c9d95f5d78702c44/tenor.gif?itemid=5645551)

Thank you! I'll be here all week.

Seriously, tho, the XFL started out the same way: Huge Week 1 ratings because folks were still weaning themselves off of actual football, and a decline to friends and family levels by the end of the season.

I guess I'd love to see football year round. But anything associated with Peter Thiel and Barstool Sports can go DIAF. Their angel investor is the guy who bought a hockey team in North Carolina, which is to say he's a mark they saw coming for miles. The AAF can't die fast enough so Legion can go back to breaking down QBs for the draft* in April. THE DRAFT WON'T MOCK ITSELF.