Posted on February 7, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Fans of defensive football and the New England Patriots are probably okay with how the 2018-19 NFL season played out. But everyone else—not so much. The Super Bowl was a well-played game and one the Patriots deserved to win. However, it was lacking in excitement.
In past seasons, a great Super Bowl helped fans say goodbye to football. But this season, they didn’t get it. As it turns out, they didn’t need it because we have a few more months of football left—just not NFL football.
It comes courtesy of the latest attempt at a spring league– the Alliance of American Football. The AAFL, as it is called, kicks off this weekend with all eight teams playing.
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How good will the football be? No one knows. They haven’t played yet, so there is no way to effectively judge the quality of the game. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bet on it. Consequently, odds have already been released on who will win the first Alliance of American Football Championship:
- Arizona Hotshots (+250)
- Salt Lake Stallions (+400)
- San Antonio Commanders (+500)
- Orlando Apollos (+500)
- Atlanta Legends (+500)
- San Diego Fleet (+1000)
- Memphis Express (+1000)
- Birmingham Iron (+1000)
But without seeing anyone play, how can anyone know who they should bet on? Think about what it takes to develop a winning team as quickly as possible—a coaching staff that can get the most out of everyone sooner rather than later, defense, and star power.
Good coaches can take 11 mediocre players and have a good offense or defense. Also, if a team has a good defense that can shut down the opposition then they will not need their offense to do too much. But a team with a star player or two on either side of the ball can cover up a lot of deficiencies.
However, until these guys play, all we can do is go off their reputations and what we do know about them.
For instance, San Diego, Memphis, and Birmingham do not appear to have as much to work with as some of the other teams. San Diego’s star player on offense is tight end Gavin Escobar. Memphis will either have Christian Hackenberg or Zach Mettenberger at quarterback. Birmingham is banking on Trent Richardson to become the guy he was in college many years ago.
There is potential in Orlando with Steve Spurrier at the helm and Garret Gilbert at quarterback. From what has been said in the media, they could have one heck of a defense, too (especially the d-line). But Atlanta could have some real promis if Michael Vick can coach (he’s the offensive coordinator). He’ll have a good young quarterback to work with in former Georgia standout, Aaron Murray.
Salt Lake has a roster with some real potential and an experienced front office, but does Dennis Erickson still have what it takes? He was a good college coach but didn’t fare so well in the NFL. On paper, it looks like the first champion will either be the Arizona Hotshots or San Antonio Commanders.
Arizona has a good coach in Rick Neuheisel and probably the best general manager in the league in Phil Savage. Even if we don’t know who the players are, we can count on those two selecting guys that can play. For their inaugural season, they will have some playmakers on the roster.
Former Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight will be a nice dual threat guy that can make plays with his arm and legs. However, if he and Josh Huff can get on the same page quickly, they could be a deadly duo early on. They also appear to have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball.
As for San Antonio, head coach Mike Riley has quite a few promising young players to work with on the offensive side of the ball. While their defense may not be as well known, defensive coordinator Jim Grobe will get the most out of whoever takes the field.
So—who’s going to win?
Right now, take Arizona. The defense looks promising and Trevor Knight may be the best quarterback in the league.