Football on television after the Super Bowl?

Published 12:17 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2019

If you turned on the television this weekend and found a football game, you were probably a little confused. After all, the Super Bowl was last weekend — about an hour down the road. Your memory serves you correctly — Tom Brady now has more Super Bowl rings than most NFL franchises, and he’s playing like he’s 25.

The NFL season is over and college football spring games are still a couple of months away. However, for the first time since the XFL days, there’s football on beyond the NFL season. The new Alliance of American Football kicked off with four games this past weekend.

The team names and uniforms aren’t recognizable, but the players and the product were. A local player, Quan Bray from LaGrange, played for the Birmingham Iron. He returned punts and was overthrown on a potential touchdown reception.

Atlanta is the only city with a NFL team to also now have an AAF team, the Atlanta Legends. If you missed the debut, don’t fret. The Legends were pummeled by the Orlando Apollos, a team coached by Steve Spurrier, a name Georgia fans obviously know well. Over the years, he’s had a hand in beating a Georgia team or two.

There are 12 players that went to Georgia universities for college currently playing in the AAF, including former Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray. There are 71 total SEC players in the league, including an incredible 11 from the University of Alabama. These are names you know, too. Former Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson scored two touchdowns Sunday. Former Auburn Tiger Chris Davis — he of “There goes Davis!” fame — is also on the Iron.

It’ll be interesting to see if a second football league can actually be viable. Nothing against the Canadian Football League or Arena Football League, but I’m talking about really viable — a league that is discussed around water coolers each week.

The XFL is coming back next year, but it failed in its first attempt. The USFL failed too, and so did the World Football League. Can the AAF be different, especially with its focus on the football-crazed south?

We all know that football fans are as passionate as any. A 2014 New York Times study researched how many college football fans were in each county in the United States. Troup County came in at 27 percent. That’s not even counting Atlanta Falcons fans.

The league is not meant to compete with the NFL. It actually wants to serve in a complementary role, developing players that didn’t make it in their first shot in the league.

It’s got a couple of new rules that the NFL might even consider in the future. There are no kickoffs in the AAF, teams must attempt a two-point conversion after each touchdown and a replay official appears on screen breaking down every controversial call for the TV audience.

The Legends play at Georgia State Stadium — the old Turner Field — and play their first home game against the Iron in a few weeks. That will be a chance to see Georgia’s local team, Bray, and 29 former SEC players on the same field, and tickets start at $20.

Maybe it’ll last, maybe it won’t. But regardless, it’s football on TV after the NFL season.