If you’re anything like me, you have one question when football season is over: Now what?
Don’t get me wrong, I love sports in general. I always look forward to the Mariners’ opening day, can’t wait for Seattle’s NHL team to start up, and I long for the day that our Sonics return home. That said, football is my favorite sport and it’s not even close. Every year, after the NFL has crowned its champion I fill the void by looking up mock drafts, watching Seahawks highlights, and rewatching old games on TV. I seriously can’t get enough.
Imagine my excitement when I heard about the Alliance of American Football (AAF)! The AAF is just a couple weeks into its inaugural season, and I’m pleasantly surprised, as a fan, how good the games have actually been. There are only eight teams right now: the Arizona Hotshots, Salt Lake Stallions, San Antonio Commanders, San Diego Fleet, Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, and Orlando Apollos. This league isn’t here to compete directly with the NFL. On the contrary, it seems to exist for two reasons: to fill the empty space for football fans, and to give a second chance to players that just couldn’t quite make it in the NFL. Although it doesn’t have a direct connection to the NFL, it seems like it’s almost like the football equivalent of baseball’s minor leagues.
Before you watch a game there are a few differences in the rules that you’ll want to know about:
- There are no kickoffs. To start each half and after a score by the opposing team, the offenses take possession at the 25 yard line. Punting is still allowed.
- After every touchdown the scoring team must attempt a 2-point conversion.
- Defenses can only rush the opposing quarterback with 5 players.
- If a game goes to overtime, each offense will start with the ball at the 10 yard line. No field goals allowed.
I’m pretty excited to see how this league will pan out. Startup football leagues have had a hard time gaining traction in the past, but those leagues were trying to compete with the NFL, and the AAF is not. Either way, it’s more football to watch and I couldn’t be happier!