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American Alliance of Football Launches Saturday on CBS Sports

American Alliance of Football Launches Saturday on CBS Sports

02/07/2019
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Hall of Famer Bill Polian is a cofounder, Mike Singletary to coach Memphis

Story courtesy of CBS

If you've been reading football headlines recently, you may have come across some news about former NFL quarterbacks finding new homes.

Two months ago, for instance, CBS Sports Network aired a QB Draft with lead analysis from Kurt Warner, and in that draft, familiar names like Christian Hackenberg, Josh Johnson (who ended up playing for the Washington Redskins in a few games late in the 2018 NFL season) and Aaron Murray were selected as if starting their NFL careers afresh.

It turns out that those quarterbacks -- and countless other players -- are actually preparing to suit up for the AAF, a brand new league set to debut on Saturday. 

If you're like most football fans, however, and you're still trying to figure out just what the heck AAF really is, well, you've come to the right place. Here, we've got all the details you need to get ready for the games this weekend:

So what is the AAF?

AAF stands for Alliance of American Football, which was announced in March by co-founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian, the latter of whom spent decades working as an NFL executive. It is an eight-team league that exists to both complement the NFL during the offseason and showcase local, developing talent. Its leadership board features former NFL players Jared Allen, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu, and its mission is to provide "high-quality professional football fueled by a dynamic Alliance between players, fans and the game."

What are the teams?

The AAF's inaugural eight franchises are as follows:

  • Arizona Hotshots
  • Atlanta Legends
  • Birmingham Iron
  • Memphis Express
  • Orlando Apollos
  • Salt Lake Stallions
  • San Antonio Commanders
  • San Diego Fleet
  • Who are some notable coaches and players?

    The AAF used a QB Draft to allow each of the eight teams an opportunity to either protect allocated quarterbacks or pick one from another region, with those quarterbacks first signing directly to the AAF. Before the draft, dozens of other players had already joined the league, with Hines Ward hinting this fall that "big names" remain on the AAF's radar.

    Before any players signed to the league, the AAF also announced head coaches for all eight of its original teams.

    Here's a rundown of some of the most notable names on each team entering 2019:

    Team: Arizona Hotshots
    Coach: Rick Neuheisel
    Players: QB Trevor Knight

    Team: Atlanta Legends
    Coach: Brad Childress
    Players: QB Aaron Murray, QB Matt Simms, WR Stephen Hill

    Team: Birmingham Iron
    Coach: Tim Lewis
    Players: QB Blake Sims, QB Scott Tolzien, RB Trent Richardson, CB JaCorey Shepherd, K Nick Novak

  • Team: Memphis Express
    Coach: Mike Singletary
    Players: QB Christian Hackenberg, QB Zach Mettenberger, RB Zac Stacy, WR Chris Givens

    Team: Orlando Apollos
    Coach: Steve Spurrier
    Players: QB Garrett Gilbert, QB Stephen Morris, WR Frankie Hammond, DB Will Hill

    Team: Salt Lake Stallions
    Coach: Dennis Erickson
    Players: QB B.J. Daniels, QB Garrett Grayson, RB Matt Asiata

    Team: San Antonio Commanders
    Coach: Mike Riley
    Players: RB David Cobb, RB Daryl Richardson

  • Team: San Diego Fleet
    Coach: Mike Martz
    Players: QB Josh Johnson, RB Bishop Sankey

    When will they start playing?

    The AAF's 10-week, 40-game regular season will begin Saturday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. ET from Spectrum Stadium in Florida, where the Orlando Apollos will host the Atlanta Legends; and from The Alamodome in Texas, where the San Antonio Commanders will host the San Diego Fleet.

    CBS is scheduled to broadcast the AAF's Feb. 9 Opening Day, while CBS Sports Network will then carry one AAF game each week throughout the season.

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