As I sat in my office yesterday around 11ish, contemplating the weekend with no football, contemplating next week's Super Bowl (who cares?), contemplating the long, hot Spring and Summer with NO football, counting down the MONTHS until kick off, my phone rang. It was DSD who wanted to read me an article from the local newspaper. An article with the MOST AMAZING news! About, you guessed it, FOOTBALL. Spring Football.
There is a brand new football league. The All American Football League is holding its first ever draft as I type this. It is not available on TV in our area, so I am watching/listening to it online (instead of doing my Business homework). New football. More football. Spring Football. The first game for the new league will be held 12 April and the Championship game will be held 4th of July weekend. How awesome is this?
I know what you are thinking, remembering the USFL, the XFL and the ridiculous Arena Football league (which has played22 seasons!). This is different, much different and hopefully, much better. This new league is not trying to compete with the NFL or NCAA football. But they are not trying to re-invent the game either. They are playing in the Spring, using NFL officials and a combination of NFL and NCAA rules, mainly NFL, but the OT rules will be those of NCAA except the line of scrimmage will be the 35 yard line instead of the 25. The league, the AAFL, is trying to compliment the systems that are already in place AND use the fan base of teams already in place.
So far there are just six teams. Team Florida, Team Alabama, Team Arkansas, Team Tennessee, Team Michigan and Team Texas. Each team is allowed to protect (pick up before the official draft) the players who played college ball in their state. Team Florida and Team Texas only get the players from their state, because those states have so many college teams. But Team Alabama gets the players from Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi and Team Michigan gets the players from Michigan, Indiana and Illinois (so we know which team Shel from Yah Sure, You Betcha will be cheering for!). Here is the kicker: All players must have received a college degree and exhausted their NCAA eligibility to qualify for the AAFL. This league is not trying to compete for the great college players, it wants them only after they have completed their college careers! And, let's face it, at an annual salary of $50,000, they are NOT going to compete with the NFL.
So who are we going to see playing in the new league? Great players who, for some reason or another, just didn't make the cut in the NFL. Team Florida has the 2006 BCS MVP, QB Chris Leak. Chris was not drafted in the 2007 draft and was cut from Chicago before pre-season. He loves the game and is a great QB, but he is, well, short, for the NFL. So, he has signed on to Team Florida, where he will put back on the Orange and Blue and play again in the Swamp! Does life get any better than this?
Yes, many of the teams will be playing in the state's college stadiums. Team Florida will play 10 games, with 5 home games. Three home games will be played at the University of Florida's Ben Hill Griffin stadium, one will be played at the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium and one at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. (Is that where the Buccaneers play?) Let's hear it for spreading the love around state. Tickets are fairly cheap at $53 for 50 yard line seats and only $93 for skybox tickets (already sold out for Team Florida).
The only glitch in my overwhelming happiness is that DSD is not interested in sitting in the hot sun in Gainesville in June and wants a skybox. But you have to buy a minimum of four tickets to buy the skybox tickets and that is going to get expensive, plus we only need two tickets. (He is currently napping in front of the TV since the weather here is so crappy there is not a lot else to do and does not know that the skybox tickets are sold out!) This is football. If I want to sit in an air conditioned room with strangers to watch the game on TV, I will go to a bar down the street, it is MUCH cheaper!)
Wow, this post is long. Watch this space for more about this exciting new football league (mainly Team Florida).
Kick off is only 2 1/2 months away!