What is the AAF and what does the football abbreviation mean? The AAF is a new football league that launched in 2019 and stands for the Alliance of American Football.
The AAF is aiming to fill the void of a long NFL offseason with no football. The AAF started the week after the Super Bowl providing fans with more football through April.
“Two hundred million watch college and pro football compared to the 130 million combined that watch the other major sports,” Ebersol explained The New York Times. “We don’t need to get all of those football fans to tune back in, but I like our chances of getting a significant chunk of them.”
Fans flipping through channels will notice AAF games on NFL Network, CBS Sports, TNT and streaming online through the Bleacher Report app. Contrary to failed football leagues of the past, the AAF is not attempting to compete with the NFL, instead, it is aiming to serve as a developmental league for players, coaches and front office executives.
Giants co-owner Steve Tisch noted he thinks the AAF can create even more interest in the NFL.
“If it creates additional interest in the NFL — which I think it will — I think it proves Americans want to watch football 52 weeks a year,” Tisch explained to TMZ.
Former NFL GM Bill Polian helped create the AAF with Ebersol. Polian’s role was to make sure the level of football was top notch.
“I want folks who know football to say, ‘Hey, this is pretty good football and it’ll get better and it got better during the year,'” Polian told ESPN. “We’re going to be a lot better on the 27th of April than we’ll be on the 9th of February. Teams get better as they practice and play together. That’s No. 1. No. 2, I want people to say that it’s an interesting and exciting game.”
Each AAF Team Has Ties to Local Colleges & Universities
One of the ways the AAF is hoping to engage local markets is through the way the rosters are constructed. Each of the eight teams have ties with the universities in their area.
For examples, former Alabama running back Trent Richardson is playing for the Birmingham Iron. The goal is to have local fans recognize players that they rooted for during their college careers. ESPN detailed how the AAF rosters were constructed.
Three ways. First, the league figured out the top 30 NFL-producing colleges over the past 10 seasons (USC is No. 1), and gave each team three high-producing schools. Then they gave teams up to 30 other area schools in a certain range to pull allocations from.
If a player doesn’t fit that grouping, they also assigned four NFL teams to each AAF team; if a player played for a team or was in training camp with a team, then his rights were given to the respective AAF team. This was done with both geographic and population data (for instance, San Antonio has the Cowboys, Texans, Chiefs and Eagles).
There is also at least one CFL team assigned to each team. If a player hits none of these lists, then there was a first-come, first-served rights list of 25 players.