Everett: AAF can help revitalize the NFL

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Welcome to the Alliance of American Football, something that created a buzz during the second weekend in February and the first weekend without NFL football.

Things didn't start out well for Hackenberg in the second half, either, as Memphis head coach Mike Singletary relied nearly exclusively on the run, to the point that they turned the ball over on downs trying to take the ball out of the quarterback's hands. Defenses were hitting. It was obvious that the defense was ahead of the offense in most of the games. The AAF is essentially the new Arena Football League. Of course, the AAF isn't exactly interested in competing with the National Football League, which is part of why they operate after the National Football League season ends. So it's fun. I thought the league has done a great job so far. Thanks to NoExtraPoints.com and Pro Football Focus for their AAF stats. Ross had five receptions for 103 yards in the game. It came to within two tenths of the Duke-Virginia men's college basketball game on ESPN earlier in the night (2.3).

The league's first games, which aired Saturday on CBS, averaged 2.913 million viewers, according to Sports TV Ratings.

The eight-team league has some impressive talent.

Salt Lake returns to action next Saturday at Birmingham in a noon MST kick. Fans will have the opportunity to listen in on their discussions in between plays and there are nine referees in total.

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The AAF seems to understand all of this, however, and is positioning itself as a developmental league best evidenced by the standard contract for all players, a three-year, $250,000 deal which climbs from $70,000 to $80K and then $100K in 2021 but allows anyone to leave for the NFL after the season. While watching the games you often heard dialog between coach and QB, QB calling plays, and centers calling line signals.

In order to accomplish this vision, the founders felt it was essential to hire quality coaches to give the league instant credibility, but also, to address what it perceived to be a shortfall in how the NFL coaches some of the more peripheral players. Sunday saw rookie head coach Tim Lewis' Birmingham Iron shut out Hall of Famer Mike Singletary's Memphis Express 26-0, while the Arizona Hotshots held the Salt Lake Stallions to just six second-half points in a 38-22 victory.

Hackenberg finished the game 10-for-23 for 87 yards and an interception, though to be fair he had a nice touchdown pass taken away by a formation penalty. All touchdowns will be followed by two-point conversion attempts. Additionally, every player was assigned to their team by region, taking into consideration where they played football in college or professionally, and giving them the chance to reconnect with fans and the community, and give back in every way they can.

- Seeing Spurrier hang 40 points on an opponent will never get old.

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