The Alliance of American Football recently announced that its inaugural championship game would take place in Frisco at the Ford Center, a 12,000-capacity facility owned by Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys.
Yesterday, the Orlando Apollos became the first team in the league to stamp their ticket to the postseason for the potential to play there at the end of April, routing the Atlanta Legends by a score of 36-6 to clinch a playoff berth with a 6-1 record with three games to play.
The Birmingham Iron are the only other team in the Eastern Conference with a winning record at 4-2, and could make it 5-2 today if they are able to defeat the 1-5 Memphis Express in Tennessee, a team starting its third-string quarterback for the game, though Johnny Manziel will back up.
The Apollos have been led by the quarterback play of Garrett Gilbert, who leads the league with 1842 passing yards, also ranking third in completion percentage among players with at least 50 pass attempts. His 11 touchdown passes are also tied for the most, but most important is the fact that he has thrown just one interception.
It helps that they have had arguably the best all-around offensive line in the AAF, which is nearly as big a divide as any other individual factor so far in the upstart league, but Gilbert has also legitimately played a good game and figures to be one of the players most likely to receive an NFL contract when the season is over.
His Apollos figure to have very good odds of playing in that final game, but right now it looks like they are likely to face the Iron in the first round of the postseason. In the Western Conference, the San Antonio Commanders are the clear top team, with the Arizona Hotshots and the San Diego Fleet jockeying for the number two position. They face each other today locked in at 3-3 records.
With a win over the Express today, the Iron could essentially clinch a playoff berth as well, as they could earn a 5-2 record with three games to play, with the next-best record in the division being the 2-5 Legends, whom they have already beaten. They play the Legends again next week.
The Apollos and the Iron have had the two best defenses so far. Though the Iron still has yet to play this week, they have allowed a league-low 93 points, while the Apollos have allowed just 105 points in seven games. The Fleet and Hotshots have the next-best numbers at 121 and 123, but they also play today.
When it comes to offense, however, nobody is close to Orlando, which has put up 202 points for a league-best 97-point differential. The second-highest scorers have been the Commanders with 152 points, but the Iron has the second-best differential at 30 points, having scored 123 on the season.