Footballs’ Last Long Winter

Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian unveil their new league the Alliance of American Football

It has been exactly five months today since the last time a meaningful game of football has graced our screens and our lives. This past Thursday played host to a close second in the form of the Hall of Fame game between the reserves of the Chicago Bears and the backups of the Baltimore Ravens. While there are plenty of things to occupy your time in the offseason such as OTA’s, free agency, and fantasy projections (keep a look out for all your fantasy news and tips coming this season) nothing replaces the real deal. Or does it? For those of you feeling as though there’s been something missing from your lives for the last five months, take solace in the fact that this will be the last such stretch without the game we love for the foreseeable future.

Charlie Ebersol has put together his own football league. Following in the footsteps of his father Dick Ebersol, Charlie will be unveiling the Alliance of American Football, or the AAF, this next February; just in time for the NFL’s offseason. This new league will be loaded with familiar NFL faces. Hall of fame executive Bill Polian is the league’s co-founder, future Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu will be the head of player relations, and there are several former NFL coaches slated for the new league including Brad Childress and Mike Singletary.

Rosters for the new league dubbed “The Alliance” will be filled with players who didn’t make NFL or CFL rosters. “Each of our teams will have at least five colleges whose players become theirs, four designated NFL teams and a CFL team that is assigned,” Polian said. The colleges designated to each Alliance team will be based on location.

There will be 8 teams battling it out for 12 weeks from February through April. Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio will have their first pro football teams while Atlanta and Phoenix get an additional team and San Diego replaces the Chargers who left for LA.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to make one of these rosters, there are open tryouts later this month in Los Angeles, Houston, and Atlanta. Players in the Alliance will be signed to three-year $250,000 contracts that include clauses that allow any player to leave the league to go and play for the NFL.

The Alliance isn’t the only new league popping up. Vince McMahon has resurrected his XFL with an expected start date sometime in 2020. Not as much is known right now about the XFL with no teams or cities announced. We do know however that McMahon will be footing the bill with $500 million of his own company’s money, and the commissioner of the league will be Oliver Luck, the father of Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck. The elder Luck has had plenty of experience with football. Luck served as Executive Vice President in the NCAA and was formerly the president of NFL Europe.

Some of you are fired up about the reality of three professional football leagues, while others are loyal to the one and only. The two new leagues are counting on filling the void in early spring, though there’s only one thing that can occupy our lives in early fall like the NFL and it’s almost time.

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