Despite, or perhaps because of the NFL’s slightly sagging ratings over the course of the past couple of years, we are seeing a renewed interests in outside parties putting together serious and concerted efforts to create new football leagues that they hope will be able to survive.
One of them is the Alliance of American Football, spearheaded by Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian, which I have written about previously. Their plan is to begin their season after the NFL’s season ends, so they will not be in direct competition, but will hopefully have carryover interest for sports fans who still want to see football after the season ends.
The plan is to have eight teams with 50-man rosters, playing a 12-week season. Among those involved at the coaching level so far are Steve Spurrier, Brad Childress, Mike Martz, and Mike Singletary as head coaches. Mike Vick is also going to hold a coaching position.
There are also some familiar names among the executives, including Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward. Polamalu is the Head of Player Relations for the AAF, while Ward is a Player Relations Executive. Both of them have put their face, voice, and name behind the new league already.
With the first season set to kick off in February, things are beginning to be put in motion, with plans announced for three regional combines to be held in August in Los Angeles, Houston, and Atlanta, with the latter being a two-day event.
“The Combine events are the first opportunity for aspiring players to put their skills on display in front of Alliance coaches, general managers and other front office personnel, marking the start of Alliance open player signings”, a statement reads.
The Alliance of American Football, founded by Charlie Ebersol & Bill Polian announces Scouting Combine to be held in August in SoCal. Former Steeler Troy Polamalu is head of player relations. Details: pic.twitter.com/2pATn1cIgE
— Liz Mullen (@SBJLizMullen) July 2, 2018
Polamalu, as Head of Player Relations, was also included in the statement, calling the Alliance “an opportunity for players looking to begin, extend and/or revive their professional careers”, and noting the three regional combines as “the first step of that journey”. Teams will also hold their own workouts for local players in their areas.
“We are committed to finding the best talent available and providing them with the necessary resources to flourish both on and off the field”, Polamalu’s statement continued. “We’re building something special and I [am] looking forward to seeing who wants to be a part of it”.
The eight cities that were awarded inaugural AAF franchises are Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake, San Antonio, and San Diego.
The head coach of the Birmingham franchise will be former Pitt cornerback Tim Lewis, who also served as defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers prior to Dick LeBeau returning in 2004.