The NFL may not be the only game in town for much longer.
That’s because “30 For 30” director Charlie Ebersol and former NFL executive Bill Polian announced they’re planning to launch a separate professional football league called the Alliance Of American Football, set to debut next February. The AAF is intended to fill the football void after the NFL’s season concludes, so while it won’t technically compete with the league directly, pundits, commentators and fans around the country will almost certainly draw comparisons between the two.
“Fifty-nine million people play fantasy and 20 million people play only fantasy football,” Charlie Ebersol said. “We have to be able to take advantage of the people who just stop playing fantasy when the NFL season ends.”
The league will start out with eight professional teams, each with a 50-man roster. There are no kickers and the season will last for 10 weeks. And according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, players will be offered bonuses based on their game performance.
New football league launching next February, The Alliance of American Football, promises to offer players:
— Win Bonuses
— Stat Bonuses
— Fan Engagement Bonuses
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 20, 2018
Unlike the XFL, which will probably seek to directly compete with the NFL, the AAF seems like it’ll be an answer for the talent left behind by the National Football League.
“There are 28,000 Division I football players. Only 1,700 have NFL jobs,” Ebersol said. “We’re looking for those Kurt Warners working in grocery stores, and we think we will find them.”
The eight cities have not yet been formally announced and we’re not sure how the drafting process will look but that’s sure to be sorted out in the coming months.
Since there are no kickers, the ball will always start on the 25 yard line with no onside kicks. And — to really spice things up a bit — every touchdown will have a follow-up two point conversion attempt.
And if this scheme sounds like it’s dead in the water, not so fast. CBS has already agreed to broadcast the first game and the championship game, along with one regular season game every week. There won’t be any TV timeouts and the commercials are supposed to be much shorter, which aims to answer to common complaints about the NFL getting too commercialized for TV enjoyment.
Other high-profile individuals backing the AAF campaign are Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, and media conglomerate The Chernin Group.
The first AAF game will be played on February 9, 2019.