There aren’t too many dead periods in sports but, for the last few years, the time after the first week in February until real March Madness (late, not early in March) was the deadest of the dead.
It still might be sleeping but it’s not dead, thanks to the American Alliance of Football.
Between signing day on the first week in February and Cherry and White, at least from a football perspective, nothing happened.
I went into the first week of American Alliance of Football play not expecting much but pleasantly surprised by four things:
- There are Temple guys playing in this league;
- You can actually hit someone like the old days without drawing a flag;
- Everybody makes pretty much an equal salary;
- Games are pretty damn entertaining.
To the first point, the Temple guys are Leon Johnson, Adonis Jennings, and Evan Rodriguez, an offensive lineman, wide receiver and tight end, respectively.
I could not find the rule on quarterback hits but I saw several quarterbacks being hit pretty hard without the immediate flags that are thrown in an NFL game. Tom Brady, for instance, probably wouldn’t like this league. Also, the helmet-to-helmet restrictions aren’t the same severity in this league that exists in the NFL.
The play clock is 35 seconds, five seconds shorter than the NFL one and there are no TV timeouts so the games can be completed in 2 hours and 30 minutes of real time.
Economic equality comes to pro football with all the players making the same $250,000 a year. The good part of that is it’s probably at least $200,000 more than they’d be making in the “real world.”
All the teams are in Southern markets so inclement weather (other than rain) usually isn’t a factor.
Myles Tannenbaum, the one-time owner of the USFL Philadelphia Stars, summed up the business model of that great league perfectly when he said: “If you like chocolate ice cream in the summer, you probably would like it in the winter, too.”
That league failed because a younger owner demanded it go up against the NFL, which was selling a much tastier brand of chocolate ice cream in a different season. Now, it’s the only ice cream in town.
Until my favorite kind of ice cream, Cherry and Vanilla is dished out on April 13, this will be at least an option we did not have in the past.
Tuesday: Real Pitchers and Catchers