Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, Ed Reed, and Ray Lewis are names synonymous for having arguably the greatest impact on the game of modern football, another connection to these names is Arizona Hotshots General Manager, Phil Savage.
The resume of Savage includes former jobs as General Manager of the Cleveland Browns, Director of Player Personnel of the Baltimore Ravens, Executive Director of the Senior Bowl, Scout for the Cleveland Browns, Radio Analyst for the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide Sports Network, coaching stints at the collegiate and professional ranks, and has even worked as a consultant and executive for the Philadelphia Eagles. Savage brings something any start-up league desperately needs, credibility!
While Savage certainly has an impressive resume, it is important to look at his impact on the present and future. As other leagues can attest, first impressions are everything. For the Alliance of American Football, Phil Savage brings all-star power to the front office of the Arizona Hotshots. After all, one of the things that will determine the fate of the AAF is the ability to develop players.
Savage played a key role in discovering the talents of players that include the aforementioned Ray Lewis and Ed Reed but also Baltimore Ravens legends, Terrell Suggs and Jonathan Ogden among others. Being responsible for 11 pro bowlers and five present or future Hall-of-Famers affirms that Savage will help not only Arizona in the player development department but the AAF as a whole.
The last question that must be asked, what does all of this mean for the Arizona Hotshots? Unlike the NFL, the teams of the AAF will rely upon territorial rights to fulfill rosters. This makes player development and professional relationships vital for success in the league. The Hotshots alone, have 14 players that played for the Arizona Cardinals alone. This means that a major part of the Hotshots roster could eventually leave for a return to the NFL.
Having a general manager the caliber of Savage can only improve the odds for Hotshots players looking to get back to “the league.” The more Hotshots players that are developed and sent to the NFL will only provide as a strong marketing tool for the organization. A stellar front office led by Savage, an experienced coaching staff, and a highly skilled roster all play a major role in a Las Vegas oddsmaker declaring the Arizona Hotshots as the favorite to win the championship in the inaugural season of the AAF. One thing is clear, the Hotshots need immediate success to survive, and Phil Savage has the cure.