After less than a season, the Alliance for American Football is shutting down. Now, personally, I am upset by this because I thought that the AAF was going to be good for the NFL.
The AAF promised the players a lot of things, including a pathway to success in the NFL. But, with the way it was structured, I must admit, I knew that this was never going to be a successful endeavor.
To be successful, I truly think that the AAF had to become the equivalent of the NFL’s minor league or G-League team. If you think about it, there is no feeder program to get into the NFL.
Yeah, there’s the practice squad, but there are not enough people on the practice squad to comprise a whole team. If the AAF turned into a “minor league team”, all of the prospects that come out of college who aren’t necessarily fit for the NFL yet could sign with an AAF team and keep in shape while getting eyed by an NFL team. The funding for the AAF also could come from the NFL teams.
Look, there were ways that this organization could have been successful. There were some great ideas brought up by the founders, including the ability to place in-game bets on plays. Not entire games, but singular plays. This would make the organization a lot of money because this would be the only sport that could do this.
I actually liked some of the rules that the AAF implemented, including eliminating the kickoff and having each team start on the 25 yard line, having a referee who sits in the booth (called a sky referee) with communication to on the field, and eliminating the onside kick and replacing it with an onside conversion that places the ball at the teams own 35 and requires the team to convert a 4th-and-10 in order to gain possession. Some of the changes to the game were actually interesting and could be something that the NFL implements in the future.
However, there was one thing that the AAF was missing…supporting their players. Since the AAF has disbanded, there have been reports from players stating that they were left without flights, having to pay for their hotel rooms (which they thought were paid for), and medical expenses.
Gionni Paul broke his arm in a game the day before the league shut down, and he is now left to find an apartment and pay his medical bills without insurance.
This seemed like an absolute crap show, however, there has been some good to come out of it for the players. They are now allowed to talk to NFL teams in order to possibly be signed.
Earlier today, the Cleveland Browns signed QB Garrett Gilbert to add depth to their team. These former AAF players may possibly make it to the NFL, however not in the way they were promised when agreeing to play in the league in the first place.