Why Americans love their football and the AAF

Each week, The Beacon’s editorial board will take a stance on a current issue.

The Alliance of American Football (AAF) debuted the week after the conclusion of the NFL season and it proved one thing, that Americans love and want more football.

The debut broadcast of the AAF on CBS went head-to-head with the NBA on ABC, who had superstars James Harden and Chris Paul go up against Paul George and Russell Westbrook in the thick of a playoff race.

According to SBNation the AAF drew 2.9 million viewers while the NBA on ABC had 2.5 million viewers.

We believe that football will remain king in America and the AAF will succeed. The American people have made it clear that they love football and the creation of another league.

The AAF’s approach has also been to grow itself, not to compete with the other major sports in the world. Their season runs from February to April, during the conclusion of the anti-climatic NBA regular season. The AAF season ends around the time the NBA and NHL playoffs get started, meaning they are not competing with them and drawing viewers for a majority of their post-season play.

Still, football has always drawn high ratings, whether it is people watching college football, the NFL Scouting Combine, the Senior Bowl, and college football spring football games. People are hungry for football, not just the NFL, and the AAF is turning into another way for American fans to get their fix.

Colin Cowherd, host of an afternoon Fox Sports talk show called “The Herd” said “I think the AAF and even the XFL next spring are going to make it. If I could invest in both of these leagues I would.”

Cowherd also brought up a great point that sports gambling being legal now also changes the game. We agree, due to the fact that anyone can bet on sports now. People who want to bet on football will be drawn to the AAF and become locked in on their seasons.

There are currently eight teams in the AAF and all but two of them (Arizona and Atlanta) are located in media markets without an NFL team.

The league contains a decent amount of football big-names with the ability to bring in fans based on their name recognition alone, both on the field and in the executive suite. Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward and Justin Tuck highlight the former NFL stars currently in an executive role with the league.

College football fan favorite Steve Spurrier, former Rams offensive mastermind Mike Martz and Hall of Fame player  Mike Singletary are the prominent head coaches in the AAF. Former prominent NFL players include Trent Richardson, Christian Hackenberg, Gavin Escobar, Nick Folk and Zach Mettenberger.

This familiarity brought in a lot of new fans than they would have otherwise, and it has the potential for several interesting storylines  to occur in the league. For example, will Trent Richardson play well enough to get another NFL shot? Will Christian Hackenberg ever look like he belongs on a football field?

A major change that has been received well is that officiating crews have a ninth member called a sky judge who reviews every play using booth review technology. The sky judge can both call or take away penalties that can override decisions made by the in-game officials.

Also, the sky judge is mic’d up, which means fans can listen to what the official is saying while they go through what they’re seeing during a specific play. This allows fans to see the decision-making involved in whether they let a call stand or get it overturned.

The fans love the AAF and if its debut is a sign, it shows that it is here to stay and that people love having an outlet for football outside of both the NFL and CFB seasons.