With football headlines focusing on the NFL playoff push and NCAA playoff implications, a refreshing break comes in the form of the newly formed Alliance of American Football league. Unfortunately, the endless loop of the former has severely drowned out the impressive accomplishments of the AAF. For instance, the AAF held its first annual Protect or Pick QB Draft on November 27th (you can view the results HERE), and they released the 2019 schedule on October 16th (schedule HERE).
This league has substantial potential, with former players Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, Jared Allen, and Justin Tuck on the leadership staff, and Bill Polian as a co-owner. Chances are, you might not know any of that, and more, the numerous differences that will distinguish the AAF from the NFL.
Below, I aim to highlight some of those changes to prepare you for the upcoming season, which begins February 9th, 2019.
There will be two changes to the kicking game in the AAF. One seems to be dedicated to fan interest and one that aims to improve players safety.
The first, there are to be no more extra points. That’s right, the new look of the Alliance of American Football will require a two-point conversion attempt following touchdowns. The ball is set at the two-yard line (same as the NFL). While this may not seem like an incredible amount of added entertainment, especially since the PAT in the NFL is no longer a gimme, at face value, two-point conversions have become increasingly innovative.
I think it will force teams to become creative in formations and execution, thus providing the fanbase with endless opportunities to create fun gifs and upload them on twitter!
The second change is the elimination of the kickoff. The ball will be placed at the 25-yard line to begin each new possession. One of my favorite rules comes on the “onside kick” side of this rule. The losing team will receive the ball on their 35-yard line, facing 4th and 10.
I love this change. Not only does it largely improve player safety, on arguably one of the most dangerous plays in football, but it drastically improves the overall fan experience by creating a better chance of converting. There is just something about seeing your team in a 4th and 10 with everything on the line, that will make football fans lose their collective minds. An improvement to crossing your fingers and hoping for a lucky bounce. This way, the fan’s team has the outcome in their hands, convert or don’t, luck will have little to do with it.
Another fantastic approach to fan engagement, the AAF will bring efforts to create fewer “lulls” in action. One of those ways is by shortening the play clock to 30 seconds as opposed to 40 seconds. This is intended to create less downtime between plays, which should result in more action and less eating into the clock.
A sure fan favorite of the AAF, eliminating TV timeouts! “The game will only stop when it naturally stops,” said Ebersol, CEO, and co-founder of AAF. Fans rejoice at the end of commercial, punt, commercial, play, commercial, play….well you get the picture. The overall goal is to complete games in under 150 minutes.
Fan Engagement Bonus
While I am unable to find out exactly what this means, the AAF is striving for massive fan engagement. Going so far as to offer bonuses for “fan engagement.” I am unclear if this is for individual players or the team in total, but one thing that I have been able to dig up is the AAF will have its own app that will allow fans to stream games and potentially play fantasy football.
The opportunity is there for the AAF to take root, relieving football’s fanbase of the dreaded offseason. You will be able to catch the games on CBS, with one regular-season Alliance game being exclusively aired on CBS Sports Network each week.
Again, the start date for the AAF is February 9th, one week after the Superbowl! See you there!