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AAF debuts: everything the NFL should be but isn’t

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AAF debuts everything the NFL should be but isnt

Eagerly I’ve been awaiting the premier of the Alliance of American Football. The Spring football league debuted Saturday night with two games, one between the Orlando Apollos vs Atlanta Legends and the other between the San Diego Fleet vs the San Antonio Commanders. The former was a onesided affair with the Orlando Apollos dominating 40-6. The latter was a defensive struggle where the San Antonio Commanders came out on top 15-6.

App Review

One of the major emphasis of the AAF is their tech component. As mentioned in previous coverage, this is a venture backed league with the genius of Peter Thiel and multiple football legends. The AAF released their app earlier in the week to much anticipation. On gameday, the app delivered. This is a huge feat for software development. In comparison, the Obamacare website had a deadline set by Congress, and but when the fatal date came, the site wasn’t ready. Therefore the incomplete version was released to comply with the law, and so the exchange got off to a terrible start. A more related example would be ESPN fantasy failing on week one of the NFL a few years ago. The Alliance released their app which allowed users to stream any game without regional broadcast restrictions, an outdated barrier for sportsfans everywhere. The stream was a high quality one, almost ad-free. There were some sound issues for the game in San Antonio, but I think that fault lies more with CBS. The only issue with the stream was that my phone didn’t recognize that a video was playing, therefore the screen would go to sleep becoming inactive. Otherwise, the app was high quality and was hardly a drain on the battery life of my device. My phone only lost about thirty-forty percent streaming a football game and didn’t heat up noticeably. This is an underrated bonus.

Real Football

Part of why I disbelieve that the Vince McMahon’s XFL will work out is that the game will be too gimmicky. Even Canadian football doesn’t feel the same. Rouges don’t belong in football. College is decent, but the difference between the fastest player and the slowest is vast. Being honest, college football is really only great when two major teams play each other like Alabama and Georgia or Clemson. The NFL has great talent but the rules have become a great barrier to the enjoyment of the game. One does not simply tackle Tom Brady without being penalized, so it seems. The NFL officiating brought on great controversy prior to the Superbowl with the blatant no-call in the NFC Championship. Such instances call into question the integrity of the league. And while that particular game looked to have had incompetent officiating, there are multiple Superbowls that undermine the integrity of the league. Lets not pretend 18 point favorites featuring Johnny Unitas somehow lose to the New York Jets or the use of the Tuck Rule to save Tom Brady was the right call. Even more subtle examples like a partial power outage during a Superbowl just when the game was getting out of hand undermine the integrity of the NFL. The AAF delivers transparency where the NFL does not. On a replay of a deep pass caught, the AAF broadcasted the deliberation of the officials. The fans could listen to the refs reason as to why the call was not a catch. It was a beatiful advancement in pro-football history.

The game was not without penalties but false starts and delay of games must be enforced. Furthermore, the AAF refs place greater emphasis on illegal contacts as opposed to PI calls. Overall, the refs let the players play.

The most notable hit of the night came on the opening drive of the San Diego Fleet. There is no way the NFL would not have penalized that perfect sack. Instead it’s called a hit stick tackle and celebrated.

Level of Talent/ Rate of Play

The disparity between the fastest players and the slowest players is, seemingly, reduced from the extremities of college football. Is the game as fast as the NFL? No, but its close. And the fact that the play clock is reduced to speed of the game makes a lot of quality differences less noticeable. One disparity that stood out was the level of quarterbacks. Between the San Antonio Commanders and the San Diego Fleet, there were five interceptions and the completion percentages were below average. However, five interceptions is more exciting then five (short) punts. The game was low scoring falling well below its 50 point over under, but the credit is due to the solid defenses. To me, it’s too soon to judge the league based on talent. It’s game one. With that said, these quarterbacks should improve as the season progresses. But the defenses, particularly San Antonio Commanders’ defense was the kind of football I enjoy.

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