The Alliance of American Football was an interesting experiment in creating a secondary professional football league in North America. If not for the vast financial woes and incompetent leadership from the top—two big issues, admittedly—the on-field product did pass the eye test for most who were willing to tune in.
Perhaps especially for those who tuned into the Orlando Apollos games. The Apollos were the clear head-and-shoulders best team in the AAF, which lasted through just eight weeks of a 10-week regular season schedule before Tom Dundon elected to shutter its doors.
While Dundon has taken most of the heat for the league’s closing, the Carolina Hurricanes owner, who swooped in early in the year to invest tens of millions of dollars to keep the thing afloat, has since alleged that he was maliciously misled pertaining to a number of issues, which precipitated his decision to pull the plug after acquiring a majority share.
Before it all came crashing down, however, the Apollos put on a good product, posting a 7-1 record, which was two wins better than any other team mustered in eight weeks. They were coached by Steve Spurrier, who clearly had an impact on his team, and who was one of the most notable figures in the league.
After it all closed, he has also been one of the more outspoken individuals, both revealing that the teams were misled about the league’s financial stability and arguing that his team ought to be crowned the champions of the league for being the best. FanDuel did do just that. recently, former Apollos employees helped double down.
According to Joe Kepner of WFTV in Orlando, Spurrier was recently presented with a ‘championship ring’ to commemorate his achievements. From the looks of it, he was the only individual who received a ring, and not necessarily everybody was thrilled about that.
— Joe Kepner (@JKepnerWFTV) July 19, 2019
The Orlando team boasted some of the most notable players in the AAF, including quarterback Garrett Gilbert, one of the dozens of players who have since signed with NFL teams, in his case the Cleveland Browns. Also of note was former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson.
The Pittsburgh Steelers signed a number of players who participated in the AAF, though none of them came from the Apollos’ roster. Their team, however, did include few players who previously were with Pittsburgh in some capacity, including Terence Garvin most notably, in addition to Scott Orndoff and Giorgio Newberry.