It’s not a surprise that the Alliance of American Football drew a nice TV rating on its opening weekend. Start-up leagues tend to enjoy a “curiosity” draw in fledgling fortnights. But while the organization has made strides trying to present an alternative viewing experience, NFL and NCAA fans were treated to a mixed bag.

The kickoff has been eliminated in favor of ball-placement on the 25 yard line. More distracting is that the AAF has outlawed blitzes of more than a single player at a time whenever there are already 4 down linemen at the snap. Defenses aren’t even allowed to “spy” a QB within 5 yards, a rule that got the Birmingham Iron hit with a 15-yard “illegal formation” penalty in Sunday’s win over Mike Singetary’s Memphis Express.

Perhaps AAF management decided that since their on-field talent resembles that of a Senior Bowl or Blue-Grey Game, why not go all-out to protect the quarterback like those exhibitions do? Or perhaps the league feels that a no-blitz policy can help QBs on the more hapless teams survive the 10-game season.

Offense in Week 1 ran hot and cold to the extreme. Memphis didn’t score a point in a 26-0 loss to Birmingham, and San Antonio beat Mike Martz’s San Diego Fleet 15-6 on Saturday.

So much for the Greatest Show on Surf.

Others found the end zone more often. Steve Spurrier’s Orlando Apollos posted a 40-6 victory over the Atlanta Legends as QB Garrett Gilbert passed for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wake Forest alum John Wolford passed for 275 yards and 4 scores to lead the Arizona Hotshots over the Salt Lake Stallions 38-22.

Alliance of American Football games are faster-paced than the norm. The play clock begins ticking at the conclusion of every play, and a lack of TV time-outs and other in-game interruptions is noticeable. 2-point conversion plays are ubiquitous, diminishing the chances of opponents stalemating or going to OT.

But replay-decisions aren’t going well so far. One of Orlando’s touchdowns clearly should not have counted, and the live audience as well as CBS viewers got to hear the booth referee make the right call and then reverse herself into the wrong one.

Finally, there are few complaints about MGM’s AAF live-betting app, and at least one bookmaker claims that his AAF handle, or total amount of action, was higher than expected for the league’s maiden effort.

Photo from YouTube.

Published by Kurt Boyer

Kurt has penned over 1000+ online sports stories and is known as a 55%+ American football handicapper. He has been published on, Yardbarker and Bleacher Report. You can reach Kurt at

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