Poll: Will You Watch The Alliance Of American Football?

Back in December, a slight majority of our readership voted that the newly-formed Alliance of American Football (AAF) would be the most successful of the new spring football leagues. Its primary competitor, the XFL, is not scheduled to kick off until 2020, so by getting underway last night, the AAF got a sizable head start.

And the early returns were promising. Although neither of the league’s first two games were particularly competitive — the Orlando Apollos defeated the Atlanta Legends 40-6 and the San Antonio Commanders defeated the San Diego Fleet 15-6 — most observers agree that the contests were largely entertaining and that the quality of play was good enough to be watchable.

That alone is a win for the fledgling league, as most other challengers to the mighty NFL proved pretty quickly that they would not be able to sustain success. But the AAF, which was founded by Charlie Ebersol and long-time NFL executive Bill Polian, and whose leadership board features well-respected former NFL stars, never seemed like a fly-by-night operation. Several head coaches of the league’s eight teams are also quite recognizable to even casual fans — Mike Singletary and Steve Spurrier, for example — and as Matt Miller of Bleacher Report tweets, almost all of the AAF’s players were good enough to be considered by NFL clubs at some point or another, even if they never suited up at the game’s highest level. And the fact that many such players see the AAF as a springboard to the NFL means that the games should be intensely-contested affairs.

In that vein, last night’s opening matchups featured a few hard (but clean) hits that were not flagged, although similar plays in the NFL generate plenty of penalties these days. That will certainly make purists happy, and even though observers like Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk likened the overall quality of play to the second half of a preseason NFL game, that might be good enough for fans who just enjoy watching competitive football at a reasonably high level.

The very nature of the league means that there will be plenty of intriguing storylines to follow, and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com details a few of the early ones. And the fact that every AAF player is on a non-guaranteed three-year contract worth $250K lends credence to the league’s belief that it represents football in its purest form.

Still, a common refrain in recent years is that there is simply too much football and that interest in the game has waned because the NFL has created a year-round news cycle and has otherwise oversaturated its fans. But if last night’s ratings are any indication, there are plenty of people willing to give the AAF a chance. The first game of the AAF on CBS beat the NBA on ABC in overnight ratings, and the generally positive reviews suggest that those who missed last night’s contests will want to see what they missed. Two more games will be televised today, one on the CBS Sports Network at 4pm ET and one on the NFL Network at 8pm ET, and the CBS Sports Network will televise one AAF game each week going forward (the season is 10 weeks long).

So, what do you think? Will you give the AAF a shot, or are you planning to taking a break from football games for a little while? Let us know in the poll and in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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37 comments on “Poll: Will You Watch The Alliance Of American Football?

  1. darthrader66

    Watched both games last night, and I will definitely continue to watch. That hit on the San Diego quarterback would have been surely been called roughing the passer in the NFL, but I’m glad to see that it did not get flagged. Before the season started, I picked the Orlando Apollos as my team, and I’m glad I did.

    • Thomas Bliss

      The other teams are in trouble if Spurrier gets going like they did last night. Both sides looked solid considering it was the 1st game.

  2. acarneglia

    I think that the potential is there for the AAF to be successful. I didn’t watch last night but saw some highlights and some new things the AAF added that the NFL does not have. Big hit on a QB that would be an automatic flag in the nfl, Steve spurrier mic’d up, a mic in the booth with the official on a challenge to see what’s discussed on certain penalties. All good things. Pretty cool team names as well.

    • flyfisher64

      That would be my #1 complaint with Trade Rumors….they chronically forget the mobile link for their polls…(hear that Tim!)

  3. Polish Hammer

    I’m always up to see the renegade leagues come in if it gives more decent paying jobs to players. Every other sport has minor leagues that provide jobs but football; and I don’t want to hear about Canada or arena ball.

  4. Thomas Bliss

    That Terri Valenti (the replay official lady in the Orlando game) is stupid. That last replay they reviewed where the ball was clearly intercepted and never hit the ground but was called a incomplete pass was so bad of a blown call it was awful. It was sad to see all those different angles and to listen to her talk. Ray Charles could had seen it was an interception.

  5. jeremy

    All I gotta say is some teams need alot of work on their game play. One game had like 4 ints total and it was like the battle of who could make the most field goals

    • JT19

      I mean that’s kind of expected to happen given the circumstances. Talent wise, the players are supposed to be roughly on par with NFL backups so we’re basically watching preseason games. Most of the QBs in this league weren’t good enough to even be a backup in the NFL and that’s likely a big a reason why some of the play looked bad. They couldn’t read defenses in the NFL, that’s unlikely to significantly change in the AAF.

      There’s also the issue of getting to know the playbook for both sides. Defense is a little easier since there are no exotic blitzes, but I don’t think these teams have had months of preparation like NFL teams typically have (I might be wrong though so if I am my bad). I imagine most offenses are still getting comfortable with the system and are still working on timing.

  6. Z-A

    No bc CBS All Access is a network being chinsy AF. Similar to NBC sports. Can’t login and watch anywhere, have to be at your TV with the cable package.

    • 700Level

      Just go to Youtube. I easily found someone streaming the game. I’m sure there are other places too

  7. Thronson5

    How do we watch these games? Didn’t even know they were going on but I definitely want to give it a chance.

    • darthrader66

      Thronson5 Today, you watch Memphis-Birmingham at 4 on CBS Sports Network and Salt Lake-Arizona at 8 on NFL Network

      Starting next week, games are on either NFL Network, CBS Sports Network, Bleacher Report Live, or TNT (TNT is only next week)

    • 700Level

      You can also pretty easily find someone streaming the game for free. I open up my Youtube account earlier and a stream of Memphis vs. Birmingham was even in my recommendations, so I didn’t even have to go find it.

  8. HubcapDiamondStarHalo

    I was curious to see what the attendance figures were for the two games last night, but can’t find a thing on line. Watched a bit of the Orlando game last night – they play in the same stadium UCF plays in – and it looked like there were maybe 5,000 people in attendance.

    • jeremy

      San Antonio had like 30,000 and the crowd was pretty hype saw the game and Orlando had something like 20,000 but that with rain off and on

      • HubcapDiamondStarHalo

        Did you find this listed anywhere? I’m somewhat familiar with the Orlando stadium, and I’d be honestly surprised if what they showed of the stands represented 20,000 people. Seating capacity is 44,000+, and it sure didn’t look half-filled.

            • crosseyedlemon

              Should also be aware that there is a difference between attendance and “paid” attendance. I’m sure this league will be providing plenty of freebies by way of promotions.

  9. kenneth cole

    Nah. I just read the rosters to see where the college kids I recognize play now.

  10. jorge78

    Yes! Game was fast paced! I could tell they didn’t have enough practice time but that will only get better.

  11. golfnut999

    Yup. With 30 second play clock and fewer and shorter commercial breaks it’s more fan friendly than the NFL, which i can’t sit and watch unless i record it and fast forward thru 90% of the broadcast.

  12. drum18

    I watched the San Antonio/San Diego game Saturday night. Attendance was said to be 30,000, but I have to wonder how many tickets were freebies or part of a discounted promotion to have full-ish looking seats for the TV broadcast.
    I like the fact that play and penalties are bit more loose than the NFL (I loved the hit on SD’s QB. It was clean, but would’ve been a flag and maybe a fine in the NFL). Speaking to that point, that play shows how badly the O lines are; there’s no cohesion just yet. Also, the QB play seemed lackluster overall. It’s apparent why these QBs didn’t make it in the NFL.
    Still, the overall product isn’t terrible and I hope the league “makes it” toward it’s stated goals. The NFL must have given it some type of blessing if it’s televising games on its network.
    One thing however: At certain times last night I think I was able to sympathize with the fans that watched football and baseball during World War II when the best players were in the armed forces.

  13. fungie22

    I enjoyed it. I would think there are better QB’s available for the teams. I wouldn’t mind the kickoffs back.

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