Less than a week after the NFL closed up shop for the season with the conclusion of the Super Bowl on Sunday night, the Alliance of American Football will kick off its inaugural season.
On Saturday night on CBS, the AAF will debut with the San Diego Fleet taking on the San Antonio Commanders and the Atlanta Legends battling the Orlando Apollos.
The other four clubs in the eight-team league are the Arizona Hotshots, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, and Salt Lake City Stallions.
Showcasing 40 games over 10 week, there will typically be two Saturday games and two Sunday games each week, with one in the afternoon and one in the evening.
“I want folks who know football to say, ‘Hey, this is pretty good football and it’ll get better and it got better during the year,’” league co-founder Bill Polian said. “We’re going to be a lot better on the 27th of April than we’ll be on the 9th of February. Teams get better as they practice and play together. That’s No. 1. No. 2, I want people to say that it’s an interesting and exciting game.”
NFL fans will recognize the names of some players (Christian Hackenberg, Matt Simms, Aaron Murray. Trent Richardson, Matt Asiata, Bishop Sankey) and coaches (Steve Spurrier, Mike Martz) but the product on the field won’t be NFL-caliber.
But, with odd rules like no extra points (teams must go for 2), no kickoffs, and no onside kicks, it isn’t really supposed to be.
“The thought is that this could be comparable to what would happen if backups on NFL teams played against each other. Multiple players, coaches and Polian himself said they believe their starters could be competitive with the ‘twos’ in the league,” according to ESPN.