Everything you need to know about the Alliance of American Football
Who’s in this new league? Where can I watch? What are the major rules differences? We’re answering every question.
Steve Spurrier ready to bring the fun to Alliance of American Football
The Head Ball Coach is back, this time as the star attraction for the Orlando Apollos. And while it may be a new league, it’s going to be the same high-flying offense he’s known for.
A new football league is here: The AAF has big plans
The Alliance of American Football has a 2019 launch date, a TV contract, an eight-city blueprint and a vision for a league alongside the NFL.
Players aren’t getting rich — not on their three-year, non-guaranteed contracts worth $250,000. But it is a potential path back to a more lucrative payday. For the majority of the 416 players on the eight AAF rosters, they hold out hope of one day reaching the NFL again or getting there for the first time.
Almost everyone here — coaches, players, general managers and even co-founder Bill Polian — has been waived, fired or gone unsigned during their football careers. At some point, the NFL told them they were not good enough.
And yet, they still want to play.
“That’s why I call this league ‘football in its purest form,’ because money hasn’t affected this the way it does in professional football or other sports,” said San Diego coach Mike Martz, one of the few with little desire to return to the NFL. “It’s just enough. You’re playing this game because you love this game, and you like to keep playing it.
“That’s why I think it’s the purest. There’s no other influences other than the pure love for this game.”
Denard Robinson was home in Jacksonville, Florida. NFL teams stopped calling a long time ago. Once a star quarterback at Michigan, Robinson converted to running back because he wasn’t an accurate enough passer and the league had yet to embrace the type of offense in which he thrived with the Wolverines.
Robinson lasted four NFL seasons, but he hadn’t played since his rookie contract with Jacksonville ended in 2016. He had workouts — notably with Chicago and the Jets in 2017, where he said New York tried converting him to cornerback — but no one signed him. He appeared retired even if he wasn’t.
Denard Robinson rushed for 1,058 yards and five touchdowns over four seasons with the Jaguars. Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports
Then his agent called and told him about an upstart league. He was unsure. The CFL had called, but he had turned them down. The combination of pay, tax rates and being in Canada, far from his young son, was not palatable. This new opportunity was closer. The money was decent. But he knew nothing about the AAF.
The 28-year-old was sick of sitting on his couch in Florida and flying to Michigan to do the occasional appearance. Yet Robinson wasn’t fully ready to pursue post-playing plans. He had sketched out potential playbooks to use if he pursued coaching and had written his thoughts and memories down for a potential book about his life and his time at Michigan, where he’s still revered.
He was still uneasy about it.
“Started writing down a lot of stuff and, look, you have a chance to play football again and get paid for it, something you always dreamed about,” Robinson said. “Even though it’s not the NFL, it’s something. Something you could do for four months, and if it’s not what you want to do for the next two, three years, then get into your life.”