The NFL season might have just ended with the New England Patriots reigning supreme yet again, but the ability to wager on football is not ending with it.
The Alliance of American Football (AAF) season kicks off this Saturday, February 9th. The AAF is a new professional football league founded & backed by producer Charlie Ebersol (son of NBC executive Dick Ebersol) and former NFL general manager Bill Polian. There are eight teams, and the league begins its first 10-week season in three days. The championship will be held in late April here in Las Vegas.
The AAF will serve as an unaffiliated minor league to the NFL & the executives are taking a new approach to this new startup football league. This league will feature multiple rule changes from the NFL, most notably that every touchdown will be followed by a two-point conversion attempt. In addition, besides Ebersol & Polian the league has brought aboard some big names to serve in some important front office roles:
- Troy Polamalu —The former all-pro safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers will serve as the Head of Players Relations.
- Hines Ward—The former Super Bowl MVP for the Pittsburgh Steelers will serve as a Players Relations Executive.
- Jared Allen— The former all-pro defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings will serve as a Players Relations Executive for the league.
- Justin Tuck —The former Super Bowl winning defensive end for the NY Giants will serve on the player engagement board of advisors.
In 2018 the league signed a partnership with MGM Resorts. This is a first of it kind league using gambling as a huge part its business operations on how they market the league. The Alliance of American Football agreement includes an investment in the league and a three-year sponsorship establishing MGM Resorts as the official sports betting sponsor of The Alliance and exclusive gaming partner. For The Alliance, the partnership aligns the league with arguably the best gaming operator in the country and gives the sports entity the ability to utilize MGM Resorts’ vast experience and industry-leading operations with mobile gaming. For MGM, the investment represents its forward-looking view on the combination of live sports, real-time second-generation stats, and fan engagement – either for fun or for those who may choose to wager.
The MGM Resorts here in Vegas has posted AAF futures odds with the Arizona Hotshots led by HC Rick Neuheisel leading the way according to the boys in the desert:Most of the teams in the AAF are employing players and coaches with big names that football fans will be mostly familiar with:
- Arizona Hotshots: Head coach Rick Neuheisel, QB Trevor Knight (Oklahoma grad could be face of League), WR Josh Huff (formerly of Eagles), SS Rahim Moore (formerly of Denver)
- Atlanta Legends: Head coach Kevin Coyle, offensive coordinator Mike Vick, QB Aaron Murray (Georgia), QB Matt Simms (son of Phil Simms), WR Denard Robinson (Michigan)
- Birmingham Iron: Head coach Tim Lewis, QB Blake Sims (Alabama), RB Trent Richardson (former 1st Rd of Browns), PK Nick Novak (formerly of NYJ & Chargers)
- Memphis Express: Head coach Mike Singletary, DC Dennis Thurman, QB Christian Hackenberg (former 2nd Rd pick of NYJ), RB Zac Stacy (formerly Rams & Jets)
- Orlando Apollos: Head coach Steve Spurrier, QB Garrett Gilbert (Texas), SS Will Hill III (formerly of NYG & Ravens), WR Charles Johnson (formerly of Vikings)
- Salt Lake Stallions: Head coach Dennis Erickson, RB Matt Asiata (formerly of Vikings), RB Brandon Oliver (formerly of Chargers)
- San Antonio Commanders: Head coach Mike Riley, GM Daryl ‘Moose’ Johnston
- San Diego Fleet: Head coach Mike Martz, RB Bishop Sankey (formerly of Titans)
Week 1 Opening Betting Lines:
Saturday Feb 9, 2019
Atlanta Legends (+4) @ Orlando Apollos (62.5)
San Diego Fleet (+3) @ San Antonio Commanders (64.5)
Sunday Feb 10, 2019
Memphis Express (+2.5) @ Birmingham Iron (57.5)
Salt Lake Stallions (+4.5) @ Arizona Hotshots (67.5)