Arizona Hotshots News

Hotshots First Round Selection Draws on Family Influence, Prior Arizona Football Experience

By. Kaci Demarest, Arizona Hotshots Content Manager  As Trevor Knight waited backstage at the The Alliance of American Football Protect or Pick Quarterback Draft, he didn’t know how the evening would shake out but he was excited to get started in whatever city he ended up in. “I had the chance to spend time with every team at our QB minicamp in San Antonio,” Knight said. “I was really excited with the Arizona staff and what they’re planning on the offensive side of the ball.” During the first round, the Arizona Hotshots picked Knight because they liked his athleticism at the position. Arizona Hotshots General Manager Phil Savage thought he was the total package for their first selection. “From a physical standpoint, he’s got plenty of arm strength,” Savage said. “He’s a very good athlete.  He’s extremely fast. He ran a 4.54 at the combine when he came out for the [NFL] draft a few years ago.” With the draft in the rearview mirror and the inaugural season coming up quick, Knight’s looking forward to returning to his hometown of San Antonio for the month. “Getting to play ball back in your home city is special,” Knight said. “I’ll get to see a lot of different people that have shaped the path of my football career.” Those people include his twin brother, Connor, and his dad, who was the first person he called after he found out he was heading back to Arizona. “He was always around, whether he was a coach or getting into school ball he was always there on the sidelines,” Knight said. “I’ve always shared a pretty unique bond in sports and just life. He’s definitely one of my heroes so of course he was one of the first people I called after I got drafted.” Connor has been right beside Trevor for the majority of his football career. The two grew up as a quarterback receiver duo all the way through their days at Oklahoma until Trevor transferred to Texas A&M his senior year. “It was one of the things that made that decision so difficult for me because I had never been away from my brother before, never played on a team that he wasn’t a part of,” Knight said. The experience turned out to be beneficial because he was able to get off the field and call up his brother or turn on the TV to watch him play. Leading up to the inaugural season, Knight’s stayed busy off the field as well finishing his master’s from Texas A&M in Business Management ahead of mini camp in Phoenix. He said he’s looking forward to return to the Valley where he previously spent a stint with the Arizona Cardinals. “I loved Arizona when I was out there the first time, and I didn’t ever think I would be back,” Knight said. “I’m excited to have another opportunity to come back.” With the start of the season closing in, Savage is looking forward to seeing what Knight can really do at the helm of the Hotshots offense. “When you take the intangibles and the natural […]

The Orlando Apollos of the Alliance of American Football Announce Full Coaching Staff

The Alliance of American Football’s Orlando Apollos announced today the addition of three assistant coaches, rounding out the staff of 10 coaches who will join head coach Steve Spurrier’s staff for the 2019 inaugural season beginning February 9 when The Apollos take the field against The Atlanta Legends. The Apollos have added Bob Sanders (defensive coordinator), Nick Rapone (defensive backs) and Scott Spurrier (tight ends) to the team’s coaching staff in the new professional league. The other seven Apollos assistant coaches were announced in November. “Now that we have our full coaching staff in place, it’s time for us to get to work towards bringing the city of Orlando a championship,” said Steve Spurrier, head coach, The Orlando Apollos. “We will be hosting our first-ever mini camp this week preparing our players for the league-wide training camp in San Antonio in January with our first snap on February 9, 2019 against The Atlanta Legends.” Bob Sanders, Defensive Coordinator Sanders has spent 14 of his 39 seasons coaching football next to Steve Spurrier and rejoins the Head Ball Coach on his Apollos coaching staff. Sanders coached in the NFL from 2001-17 for five different franchises – the Miami Dolphins (2001-04), Green Bay Packers (2005-08), Buffalo Bills (2009-12), Oakland Raiders (2013-14) and Arizona Cardinals (2015-17). Notably, Sanders served as defensive coordinator for the Packers from 2006-08 helping the team to a 27-21 record in that span and an appearance in the 2007 NFC Championship Game. Prior to the NFL, Sanders coached in the collegiate ranks on a full-time basis from 1980-2000, including stints under Spurrier at Duke University from 1987-89 and the University of Florida from 1990-2000 where he helped the Gators win the 1996 National Championship. His full coaching resume at the collegiate level includes stops at Georgia Tech (part-time, 1978), East Carolina University (1980-82), the University of Richmond (1983-84), Duke (1985-89) and Florida (1990-2000). Nick Rapone, Defensive Backs Rapone carries 41 years of coaching experience at the high school, collegiate and professional levels to Coach Spurrier’s inaugural Apollos coaching staff. After starting out as a graduate assistant with the University of Pittsburgh (1979-80), Rapone navigated to East Tennessee State University (1981-82) and Temple University (1983-88) before returning to Pittsburgh from 1989-92. He would then spend two years as the head coach at his high school alma mater, New Castle (PA) High School, from 1993-94. Rapone returned to the collegiate ranks as defensive coordinator for the University of Connecticut for three years (1995-98) before going back to Temple and taking over the secondary from 1999-2005. In 2006, Rapone made the move to the University of Delaware where he stayed from 2006-12, helping the Blue Hens to national championship appearances in 2007 and 2010 and earning 2010 FootballScoop NCAA Division I FCS Coordinator of the Year honors. He would take his talents to the professional level with the Arizona Cardinals coaching defensive backs from 2013-17 before ultimately returning to coach the cornerbacks at Delaware in 2018. Scott Spurrier, Tight Ends The youngest son of The Apollos’ Head Ball Coach, Scott Spurrier reunites with his father on the sidelines in Orlando. Spurrier spent the […]

QB Aaron Murray Expects an “Awesome Season” for the Legends

By Dinn Mann Quarterback Aaron Murray is here to remind you that football season in Atlanta doesn’t end after the college bowl games or even after the Super Bowl. That’s because The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins Feb. 9 with the Atlanta Legends visiting the Orlando Apollos, coached by Steve Spurrier. The eight-team league has a 10-week schedule and four-team playoff format that culminates in a Las Vegas title game in April. “I’m excited to be back in Atlanta, playing for the Legends,” Murray said after Atlanta landed the former Georgia QB in this winter’s “Protect or Pick” QB Draft. “We’ve got Brad Childress as our head coach, Michael Vick as the OC. I can’t wait to see Legends fans at our home field, Georgia State Stadium, and on the road.” “It’s going to be an awesome season.” The Legends play in the Eastern Conference, which includes Atlanta, Birmingham Iron (coached by Tim Lewis), the Memphis Express (coached by Mike Singletary) and the Orlando Apollos. The Western Conference is made up of the Arizona Hotshots (coached by Rick Neuheisel), the Salt Lake Stallions (coached by Dennis Erickson), the San Antonio Commanders (coached by Mike Riley) and the San Diego Fleet (coached by Mike Martz). The Legends will face their conference rivals home and away, as well as play two Western teams in Atlanta and two in their venues. Tickets are on sale now, here on the official site of the Atlanta Legends. Mini-camp for the Legends started this week. Training camp begins in January in San Antonio.

The Alliance Announces its First Weekend Game Times

By Kareem Yasin Football season ends in February? We think not. The Alliance of American Football launches its inaugural 10-week season one weekend after the Super Bowl, and game times for the first weekend’s match-ups have just been announced. Who will come out victorious when our 8 teams take the field for the very first time? Which teams will come out on top when they meet for the very first time? Saturday, Feb. 9 Atlanta Legends vs. Orlando Apollos Where: Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL When: 8:00pm ET (5:00pm PT) San Diego Fleet vs. San Antonio Commanders Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX When: 8:00pm ET (7:00pm CT) Sunday, Feb. 10 Memphis Express vs. Birmingham Iron Where: Legion Field, Birmingham, AL When: 2:00pm ET (1:00pm CT) Salt Lake Stallions vs. Arizona Hotshots Where: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ When: 4:00pm ET (2:00pm AZ) Who will win those first week games? Tune in or be there to see it live: season tickets available now!

Hotshots nab versatile quarterbacks; pick Trevor Knight first round

By. Kaci Demarest, Arizona Hotshots Content Manager The Arizona Hotshots solidified their quarterback room during Tuesday’s Alliance of American Football “Protect or Pick” Quarterback Draft. The unique draft system asked teams to “protect” one of the quarterbacks allocated to them by region, or “pick” from elsewhere. Rather than protect one of their allocated players, the Hotshots opted to a pick in the first round, taking former Oklahoma and Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight. “I was extremely grateful that Coach Neuheisel, Phil Savage, and Coach Freeze thought so highly of me to take me so early on,” Knight says. Hotshots General Manager Phil Savage and Head Coach Rick Neuheisel said that they were looking for an athletic quarterback who would fit into how they see The Alliance unfolding. “He’s a great fit for us given that he’s able to make all the throws, and he has the athleticism,” Neuheisel says. “He can be what we want him to be.” He added that Knight’s athleticism will be key in the absence of kicking extra points. Knight redshirted his freshman year at Oklahoma before going on to have a career of 3,424 yards and 25 touchdowns at the helm of Sooner football. Most notably, he posted a 348-yard, four touchdown performance at the 2013 Sugar Bowl to defeat Alabama and win MVP Honors. During his final season of eligibility, he opted to transfer to Texas A&M, where he led the Aggies to an 8-5 record. Following his collegiate career, he attended the 2017 NFL Combine where he had the best vertical jump, broad jump, and 40-yard dash time (4.54) out of all quarterbacks. He then signed as an undrafted free agent with the Arizona Cardinals but was released prior to the start of the season. Most recently, he played on the Atlanta Falcons practice squad. He said his professional stints in the NFL gave him the opportunity to learn from players like Matt Ryan and Carson Palmer on how to harness and adapt his techniques both on and off the field. “I’m a guy that has a lot of energy and I wear that on my sleeve,” says Knight. “I have a leadership style that’s outgoing.” Arizona also added John Wolford, Quinn McQueary, and Jack Heneghan to their quarterback arsenal. Savage says the team ended up with a squad of players who were already high up on their list. “It went exceptionally well,” he says. “If we had been able to just go shopping for quarterbacks with no draft, we got the guys that we would’ve taken on our own choosing.” The quarterbacks and the rest of the Hotshots roster will come together in the valley for a mini camp in mid-December. The Alliance of American Football kicks off in February 2019.

Results: The Alliance of American Football Inaugural Quarterback Draft

By Dinn Mann (Photo: Benjamin Brinker) The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural Quarterback Draft aired on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday night, showcasing some of the faces hoping to lead the league’s eight teams when the historic first season begins in February. Coaches, GMs, media, fans, friends and family gathered at the HypeX eSports Arena in Las Vegas, and the Alliance’s unique “Protect or Pick” event was part of a breakthrough day of festivities from coast to coast. Riding the wave of uniform and helmet unveilings earlier in the day, the first-of-its-kind draft format had an intriguing twist in the first round. It called for teams to “protect” one of the players allocated to them in advance (based on regional ties) or “pick” a player from another territory. The San Diego Fleet had first dibs, with GM Dave Boller and coach Mike Martz calling the shots. They chose to protect a quarterback with ties to the region, the University of San Diego’s Josh Johnson, as their number one selection. On hand for the historic occasion was Johnson’s cousin, Super Bowl-winning running back Marshawn Lynch. It was a magical moment, Johnson said, to be introduced on live TV by Hall of Famer Kurt Warner as the Alliance’s number one quarterback pick, and then be greeted on stage by Super Bowl hero Hines Ward, as well as Martz, a Vince Lombardi Trophy winner himself. Doesn’t get much better than that! We’ll let Johnson’s tweet speak for itself: SD I’m back!!!!!!! Juiced to go #1 to the @AAFFleet return to familiar stopping grounds and start building to win ASAP. Thanks @TheAAF @DaveB_AAF for letting be apart of this history #SDFleet #protectorpick pic.twitter.com/huTKWDzyhR — Head8cke (@Fam1stFamilyQB) November 28, 2018 Drafted by the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fifth round in 2008, Johnson spent time playing for the Jets, Browns, 49ers, Raiders, and Giants. But now, he’s back in San Diego and eager to get reps on an exciting spring stage. The Alliance begins its inaugural season the weekend after the upcoming Super Bowl. Here’s how the rest of the draft played out: ROUND 1: San Diego Fleet (Protect): Josh Johnson, San Diego Atlanta Legends (Protect): Aaron Murray, Georgia Memphis Express (Protect): Troy Cook, University Tennessee at Martin San Antonio Commanders (Protect): Dustin Vaughan, West Texas A&M Birmingham Iron (Pick): Luis Perez, Texas A&M-Commerce Arizona Hotshots (Pick): Trevor Knight, Texas A&M Orlando Apollos (Pick): Garrett Gilbert, Southern Methodist Salt Lake Stallions (Pick): Josh Woodrum, Liberty ROUND 2: San Diego Fleet: Mike Bercovici, Arizona State Birmingham Iron: Blake Sims, Alabama Arizona Hotshots: John Wolford, Wake Forest Orlando Apollos: Stephen Morris, Miami Atlanta Legends: Matt Simms, Tennessee Salt Lake Stallions: B.J. Daniels, South Florida Memphis Express: Christian Hackenberg, Penn State San Antonio Commanders: Marquise Williams, North Carolina ROUND 3: San Antonio Commanders: Logan Woodside, Toledo Memphis Express: Brandon Silvers, Troy Salt Lake Stallions: Austin Allen, Arkansas Atlanta Legends: Peter Pujals, Holy Cross Orlando Apollos: Austin Appleby, Purdue Arizona Hotshots: Quinn McQueary, Montana Tech Birmingham Iron: Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin San Diego Fleet: Philip Nelson, East Carolina ROUND 4: San Antonio Commanders: Dalton Sturm, Texas-San Antonio Memphis Express: Zach Mettenberger, LSU Salt Lake Stallions: Matt Linehan, Idaho Atlanta Legends: […]

The Alliance of American Football Unveils its Inaugural Uniforms

By Kareem Yasin New league, new look! The Alliance of American Football has unveiled the uniforms for its inaugural season, kicking off on February 9, 2019.  Designed by Starter and produced by G-III Sports, these uniforms feature color combinations and designs specifically chosen for each Alliance team. Each captures the unique spirit of the cities our teams are representing and the fierce dynamism of the league’s players. The uniforms feature stretch characteristics and twill used in the torso and numbers allowing for a professional, modern fit. They also include helmets and shoulder pads designed by Riddell, whose SpeedFlex and Speed platforms have a proven track-record of exceptional performance and on-field protection. Orlando Apollos: Like the Greek god of the sun, the sunshine state’s Apollos uniform is a testament to power and energy, using navy blue and orange to reflect the warm Florida sunshine. Atlanta Legends: The purple, white, and gold sported by the Legends capture the rich heritage of Atlanta, a city where legends are made. Birmingham Iron: The colors of Birmingham Iron are black, dark grey, and light grey, derived from the three elements used to make steel, namely: iron ore, coal, and flux. Memphis Express: Memphis is the birthplace of rock and roll and home to the nation’s biggest cargo airport. What better colors to represent it than the unmistakably American red, white, and blue? San Antonio Commanders: The state of Texas is represented by the color red, with maroon capturing San Antonio and silver referencing the dress military swords carried by officers. Arizona Hotshots: Inspired by the uniforms worn by many hotshot crews, the Arizona Hotshots uniform colors are a fitting orange, golden yellow, and forest green. San Diego Fleet: The anthracite gray of the San Diego Fleet uniforms represents the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet, complemented by the battleship gray of Navy ships and the warm yellows of the California sun. Salt Lake Stallions: You can almost see the silver tips of the Wasatch Mountains amidst the royal blue of Utah’s great salt lake in the Salt Lake Stallions’ uniform, while the team logo resembles a car hood reflecting the city’s fastest and most famous cars. The Alliance of American Football starts February 9, 2019 on CBS.  

LIVE: The Alliance of American Football Quarterback Draft

By Kareem Yasin and Dinn Mann It’s the kind of occasion that simulates a quarterback’s adrenaline rush during a game-winning drive. The Alliance of American Football is conducting its inaugural “Protect or Pick” QB Draft at 8ET/5PT tonight on CBS Sports Network, live from Las Vegas. More than 50 aspiring pro quarterbacks progressed through the scouting process after tryouts, combines and an elite camp to reach this point. A couple handfuls of those players are attending the draft, each hoping to become faces of franchises when the spring league’s historic first season begins the weekend after the upcoming Super Bowl. The site of the QB Draft is Las Vegas’ HyperX Esports Arena, where attendees will wait for their chance to join host Hines Ward, head of player relations for The Alliance, on stage as the unique process unfolds. “The quarterback position is critical to a team’s success, so we knew the importance of making sure each Alliance team had a top-tier quarterback at the helm,” said Alliance co-founder Bill Polian, explaining how league coaches, front office executives and CEO/co-founder Charlie Ebersol collectively agreed on the format. The league’s “Protect or Pick” draft approach begins with a round in which teams have the option of claiming (“protecting”) a player for whom that team had first dibs based on geographic proximity. The alternative is to “pick” a player from another region if, say, a competitor’s territory had a surplus of talent or a prospect more specifically aligned with a coach’s style of play. Regardless of the way a team chooses to go, each of the 8 teams will complete the first round with a QB to call its own. The intrigue only grows from there as rival teams conceivably will pounce on quarterbacks that for whatever reason became available to push for starting jobs in regions beyond their first-dib footprints. The Draft, with live analysis from NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, will last 4 rounds, with teams protecting/picking in the following order: San Diego Fleet Birmingham Iron Arizona Hotshots Orlando Apollos Atlanta Legends Salt Lake Stallions Memphis Express San Antonio Commanders If a team opts to pick instead of protect, it stays in this order after all who’ve protected voice those decisions. The draft order was determined with each team pulling a number from a helmet. The second, third and fourth rounds have no protect element, so it’s purely picking after Round 1. The order goes as listed above in Round 2. It reverses in Round 3, then snakes back in the fourth round. Check back for updates as the drumroll builds throughout today’s festivities, which also include unveilings of uniforms for each of the eight teams: the Arizona Hotshots (coached by Rick Neuheisel), Atlanta Legends (Brad Childress), Birmingham Iron (Tim Lewis), Memphis Express (Mike Singletary), Orlando Apollos (Steve Spurrier), Salt Lake Stallions (Dennis Erickson), San Antonio Express (Mike Riley) and San Diego Fleet (Mike Martz). ROUND 1: Protect or Pick San Diego Fleet, Atlanta Legends, Memphis Express, and San Antonio Commanders elected to protect. Protect: San Diego Fleet protects: Josh Johnson Atlanta Legends protects: Aaron Murray Memphis Express protects: Troy Cook San […]

QB Camp – Road to the Draft

The Alliance QB hopefuls take the field at the San Antonio Alamodome. Photo by Ben Brinker.  QB Camp – Road to the Draft By Kareem Yasin The Alliance of American Football launches in February, the weekend after the Super Bowl, which means hundreds of players — all hungry for their pro football breakthrough — will perform on this inaugural spring stage for 1 of 8 Alliance teams. After more than 1,000 players put their dreams on the line at combines in LA, Houston, and Atlanta in the hopes of making it into The Alliance, more than 50 aspiring quarterbacks took part in an elite-level QB Camp earlier this month in San Antonio. Each QB taking part in the 2-day evaluations at the Alamodome performed dozens of drills that tested speed, agility, concentration and leadership in team settings. This was a competitive platform to showcase their best qualities for coaches and GMs gathered for the purpose of assembling rosters to compete for the Alliance of American Football’s first championship. The Alliance, co-founded by Bill Polian and Charlie Ebersol, is conducting its one-of-a-kind “Protect or Pick” QB Draft at 8ET/5PT Tuesday evening in Las Vegas. The unique event will be televised and streamed live by CBS Sports Network. With a lineup of proven, innovative coaches, the stage is set. The Alliance head coaches, as a reminder, are: Brad Childress (Atlanta Legends), Dennis Erickson (Salt Lake Stallions), Tim Lewis (Birmingham Iron), Mike Martz (San Diego Fleet), Rick Neuheisel (Arizona Hotshots), Mike Riley (San Antonio Commanders), Mike Singletary (Memphis Express) and Steve Spurrier (Orlando Apollos). Mini-camps begin in December. Training camps follow in January. The drumroll is on. The quarterbacks are ready for their close-ups. Their teammates will include many familiar faces to fans in The Alliance’s eight initial markets. Players were allocated based on where they made names for themselves at the collegiate levels and in many cases professionally. Tune-in to CBS Sports Network on Tuesday 11/27 at 8PM ET / 5PM PT to watch. Tyler Ferguson of Western Kentucky University: B.J. Daniels, who played 5 seasons with pro NFL teams including the Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans: Stephen Morris, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts:   Stephen Garcia of the University of South Carolina:   Tommy Armstrong, Jr. of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln:

KURT WARNER NAMED LEAD ANALYST FOR ‘PROTECT OR PICK’ QB DRAFT

Brent Stover and Dana Jacobson to join Warner for Inaugural QB Draft ‘Protect or Pick’ QB Draft Airs Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 8:00 pm ET LIVE on CBS Sports Network SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – November 21, 2018 – Kurt Warner, a Super Bowl champion, MVP and Hall of Fame quarterback, has been named lead analyst for The Alliance of American Football’s “Protect or Pick” quarterback draft, live from the new Esports Arena Las Vegas at The Luxor on November 27, 2018. Joining Alliance executive and Super Bowl champion Hines Ward, Warner will provide viewers with insight into the quarterback class and dissect each selection, drawing on his 15-year pro career behind center. Alongside Warner will be CBS Sports Network studio host Brent Stover, CBS Sports correspondent and anchor Dana Jacobson and Jason Fisher. CBS Sports Network will televise the first-of-its-kind draft for The Alliance at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT. “The Alliance represents an amazing opportunity for these quarterbacks to begin, extend or revitalize their pro careers,” said Kurt Warner. “They faced adversity and are out to prove themselves, now they have a shot to show what they can do. Having gone undrafted and overlooked, I can relate to their pursuit. I look forward to seeing how this unique draft unfolds and who rises to the top during the inaugural season of The Alliance.” 52 Alliance-signed quarterbacks will be eligible for the “Protect or Pick” draft with additional players being added. Full list can be found here. The “Protect or Pick” draft format begins with each team deciding if they want to protect one quarterback that has been allocated to them from their region. If a team elects to protect, they name the player they are protecting as their first selection in the draft. If they decide to pick, they wait until every other team has made their decision. Once each team makes their decision, the teams that elected to not protect a player make their selection, in the order of the draft, from the remaining pool of all available quarterbacks regardless of region. All selected quarterbacks must be under contract to The Alliance at the time of the draft. The Alliance quarterback draft will be comprised of four rounds. The San Diego Fleet have the first pick in the draft, followed by the Birmingham Iron, Arizona Hotshots, Orlando Apollos, Atlanta Legends, Salt Lake Stallions, Memphis Express and San Antonio Commanders. Quarterbacks are allocated based on where they competed in college. If a player’s college is outside The Alliance footprint, he is allocated based on his last NFL/CFL team. If a player’s college is outside The Alliance allocation footprint and he did not play in the NFL or CFL, then he is unallocated. The Alliance’s 2019 and 2020 championship games will be held in Las Vegas at Sam Boyd stadium, with the 2019 championship taking place Saturday, April 27, 2019, at 8:00 pm ET / 5:00 pm PT on CBS. Draft Order Round 1: 1. San Diego Fleet 2. Birmingham Iron 3. Arizona Hotshots 4. Orlando Apollos 5. Atlanta Legends 6. Salt Lake Stallions 7. Memphis Express 8. San Antonio […]

Hines Ward – Player Relations Executive

By Kareem Yasin As a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Hines Ward earned two Super Bowl titles, a Super Bowl MVP trophy and made 1,000+ receptions during his 14-year career. Now, he’s mentoring a new generation of up-and-coming pro players in the Alliance of American football. Ward brought his experience and knowledge to The Alliance’s two combines in Atlanta, giving players advice, a listening ear and mentorship that helped them advance through a rigorous set of drills and exercises, all with the idea of earning roster spots at the next level.  

Combines Set Stage for The Alliance

Combines Set Stage for The Alliance By Mark Newman   For 1,155 players who came to compete and give everything they had in four Scouting Combines across the country, it was a golden opportunity to make a lifelong dream come true. Who knows? Some of them might become your favorite players when the Alliance of American Football turns its talent loose starting the weekend after the Super Bowl this February. The Alliance has purposefully and competitively been building rosters in recent months through various means, and one important step was these Combines overseen by league personnel. The events were held in Los Angeles on Aug. 4, Houston on Aug. 18, and in Atlanta on Aug. 25-26. “When we started this, we started with the idea that there were a lot of really good ballers who weren’t getting a shot,” said Charlie Ebersol, CEO and co-founder of The Alliance along with the legendary Bill Polian. “This is about opportunity, this is about not giving up, this is about trying to find those diamonds in the rough.” The Alliance rosters were up to 661 signings for the eight teams as of Nov. 9, and Combine participants went a long way toward reaching that number. They faced tests and positional drills, with defensive players working the morning sessions and offensive players in the afternoons. Tests included height and weight, arm and hand measurements; running the 40, to show burst and acceleration, and speed; 3 Cone, an agility drill that shows body balance, control, burst and acceleration; and standing broad jump to gauge lower-body explosion. “We evaluate not only your athletic ability, we evaluate how you handle yourself,” Stephen Austin, The Alliance Combine Director, told assembled athletes. “At the pro level, you’ve got to have the whole package.” The nation’s top 300 collegiate players go to the NFL Combine each year, and John Aaron, The Alliance Combine Director, noted that “301 to 1,000 are great football players.” That’s the whole point of this new league, which begins play the Saturday and Sunday after the Super Bowl. People want to keep watching football, and there is big-time talent just waiting to fill that void. Tony Softli, Scouting Director for The Alliance, said he expected the Combines to result in roster additions: “What we wanted to see is what talent is out there, what’s out on the street. There has been some talent that we found in this Combine, and it’s been well worth it.” Michael Vick, the Atlanta Legends’ offensive coordinator, was clearly moved by the stories he heard from some of those going through the tests and drills — including the athlete who told him about his 9-to-5 job. “There are guys who played two or three years in the NFL, got cut, went and played in Canada,” Vick said. “These guys better be hungry. This is another chance. This is another shot. Not too many opportunities come around. This is about taking advantage of what’s in the moment.” Former Alabama State cornerback Ronnie Scott was one of those who hoped to take advantage. Many of the Combine participants were names football fans recognize. […]

THE ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL SIGNS QUARTERBACK AARON MURRAY

Former Georgia Bulldogs and SEC’s All-Time Passing Leader Joins The Alliance with Rights Allocated to The Atlanta Legends San Francisco, Calif. – November 20, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football announced today that quarterback Aaron Murray has signed a player contract with his rights allocated to The Atlanta Legends. Murray, along with the 51 other quarterbacks — and counting, who have signed Alliance contracts, will be eligible for the “Protect or Pick” Quarterback Draft on November 27, 2018 in Las Vegas. The live show will air at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on CBS Sports Network. Murray was a fifth-round NFL draft choice of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014 after his record-breaking career in Athens, Georgia. The Tampa, Florida native played with the Chiefs for two seasons from 2014-15 working with Legends head coach Brad Childress. Murray also played for the Philadelphia Eagles (2016), Arizona Cardinals (2016) and Los Angeles Rams (2017) during his stint in the NFL. A four-year starter at Georgia, the Bulldogs under Murray’s direction totaled 38 victories during his successful tenure at the helm from 2010-13. His productive junior campaign in 2012 included a second straight SEC East crown en route to a trip to the conference championship game. Murray guided UGA to within eight-yards of capturing an SEC title against Alabama at the Georgia Dome before falling in the final seconds, 32-28. Murray’s signing makes him available for The Alliance of American Football’s “Protect or Pick” quarterback draft scheduled for November 27 at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT at the Esports Arena Las Vegas at The Luxor.

Arizona Hotshots more than just a new team for long snapper

Article by Kaci Demarest, Arizona Hotshots Content Manager Video by Caroline Zukowsky, Arizona Hotshots Content Production Manager TEMPE — Long snapper Nick Dooley’s career will come full circle back to the Valley of the Sun when he suits up for the Arizona Hotshots this February. At a staggering 6 feet 7 inches tall, Nick looks like he belongs on a basketball court rather than a football field. From young age, both him and his brother, Matt Dooley, picked up the game. As the younger sibling, Nick initially wasn’t a fan of the game because he always had to play up to his brother’s age group. “There was always that competitive edge, going to training, always wanting to be better than him,” Nick said. “It was a healthy relationship as far as being competitive goes.” When Nick wasn’t on the field, he was at the firehouse where his father, John Dooley, worked as an engineer for the Phoenix Fire Department.  “He would come down and run all over the trucks,” John said. “He’d climb in the tiller bucket. He loved it.”  The long snapper position wasn’t the first one that Nick picked up. It was through his connections at the firehouse that he came to learn the position.  John’s captain at the fire station saw the Dooley boys size and suggested to John that they check out long snapping because his own son was playing the position for Arizona State.  Nick started learning from videos on YouTube and eventually started training with a coach locally. During his senior year of high school at Scottsdale Christian Academy, he went on to compete in the Rubio Long Snapping competition in Las Vegas and even won the whole event in early 2012. It wasn’t until the end of his senior year that he was offered a full-ride scholarship to University of Texas El-Paso to play for the Miners. From there, he went on to have a professional stint with the Minnesota Vikings.  Nick almost decided to hang the cleats up in his early football days. But during his junior year, something clicked for him.  “I started really falling in love with the game of football, early high school, but really that year specifically,” Nick said. “I just loved doing it.”  His excitement was put to a severe test when adversity struck during a postseason high school game. “I was really having the game of my career.” Scottsdale Christian Academy was in the first round playoff game against Valley Christian. It was the first season Nick was playing both sides of the ball. During a play, Nick went to make a tackle when one of his teammates was blocked into the back of him, taking out his knee. Nick fractured his femur and tore his ACL.  “The surgeon that night told him that it looked like a bomb went off in there,” John said. The doctor told Nick that he’d never play football again. His father comforted him and told him not to believe what the surgeon said. Nick’s femur was screwed back into place, and shortly after, his ACL was repaired. Eight months after the […]

THE ALLIANCE TO HOST ‘PROTECT OR PICK’ QB DRAFT ON CBS SPORTS NETWORK

Inaugural QB Draft Scheduled for Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 8:00pm ET SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – October 31, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football will hold a “Protect or Pick” quarterback draft, live from the new Esports Arena Las Vegas at The Luxor on November 27, 2018. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the first-of-its-kind draft for The Alliance at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT. Former Super Bowl champion and head of football development for The Alliance, Hines Ward, will host the draft. “From combines held over the summer, to our upcoming quarterback camp in San Antonio, our experienced group of GM’s and scouts from each team continue to be impressed with the level of talent on display and available to them,” said Bill Polian, co-founder and head of football, The Alliance. “Our regional allocation system and the ‘Protect or Pick’ draft format were designed to strike a competitive balance across the league and fuel local market interest. The quarterback position is critical to a team’s success, so we knew the importance of making sure each Alliance team had a top-tier quarterback at the helm. We’re confident this group represents the best available players in the market. They are looking forward to the opportunity to begin, extend or revitalize their professional careers, and we’re going to do everything in our power to help them succeed on and off the field.” The “Protect or Pick” draft format begins with each team deciding if they want to protect one quarterback that has been allocated to them from their region. If a team elects to protect, they name the player they are protecting as their first selection in the draft. If they decide to pick, they wait until every other team has made their decision. Once each team makes their decision, the teams that elected to not protect a player make their selection, in the order of the draft, from the remaining pool of all available quarterbacks regardless of region. All selected quarterbacks must be under contract to The Alliance at the time of the draft. The Alliance quarterback draft will be comprised of four rounds. The San Diego Fleet have the first pick in the draft, followed by the Birmingham Iron, Arizona Hotshots, Orlando Apollos, Atlanta Legends, Salt Lake Stallions, Memphis Express and San Antonio Commanders. “We look forward to working closely with CBS Sports Network to tell the stories behind this amazing group of talented, determined and motivated quarterbacks — live from Las Vegas,” said Charlie Ebersol, co-founder and CEO, The Alliance. “Our unique ‘Protect or Pick’ format adds intrigue to our first-ever live broadcast while ensuring we stay true to our guiding principles of putting high quality football on the field and creating strong, authentic connections with our local market fans by keeping hometown favorites, home.” Quarterbacks are allocated based on where they competed in college. If a player’s college is outside The Alliance footprint, he is allocated based on his last NFL/CFL team. If a player’s college is outside The Alliance allocation footprint and he did not play in the NFL or CFL, then he is unallocated. The Alliance […]

Orlando Apollos in force as College GameDay comes to UCF

By Joel Poiley ORLANDO – As University of Central Florida (UCF) fans whipped themselves into a frenzy in front of the ESPN College GameDay crew here Saturday, Orlando Apollos vice president of marketing and strategic communications Mike Harris pictured the excitement the Apollos will offer when they begin play in the Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season against Atlanta on Feb. 9. Like UCF, the Apollos will play their home games at Spectrum Stadium. Harris is taking aim to fill the 44,000-seat venue for the Steve Spurrier-led Apollos. “We want the stadium sold out for game number one so we can show people just how much football means to this city,” Harris said. “The energy that the UCF fans have is tremendous. They call it The Bounce House because they make the place bounce all night long. That’s one of the things we want to bring to our games. They’ll be exciting. We’ll have the head ball coach with his Fun-and-Gun fast-paced style of offense we think the fans will enjoy.” Orlando’s sales team has been aggressive, with events like Saturday’s presence scheduled throughout November to give out schedules, swag and information to drum up interest in the new team and league. The effort has paid off in the two weeks tickets have been on sale, but there’s more work to be done. Harris and his staff, soaking in the scene around unbeaten UCF’s 38-13 victory over Cincinnati, know the interest is there. “Even today, we had people coming up to our table saying they heard about us and want to know more about the league and were buying season tickets,” Harris said. “People love football here, that’s why there are all the college bowl games here, the Pro Bowl did well here … it’s a football hotbed. “People are excited we’re in town. We’re trying to engage the community and develop a one-on-one relationship where our fans are connected to the Apollos. Just like our ad says, football season doesn’t have to end after the Super Bowl.” That mantra, which The Alliance co-founder and CEO Charlie Ebersol has trumpeted since introducing The Alliance in March, is resonating with fans. Give them quality play on the field and they will come. The UCF game Saturday was televised nationally, and similarly, the Apollos will open on the prime-time stage, on CBS. Austin Bosch, 25, attended the University of Mississippi and now lives in St. Petersburg. He said he gladly will make the trip to Orlando to watch pro football in the spring. “For sure I’d come over here because I love football,” Bosch said. “It’s such a cool thing because there were so many players that we loved watching in college that maybe didn’t make it in such a tight roster spot in the NFL, and this give us a second chance to watch them again.” His buddy, 27-year-old Wade Russom, works in downtown Orlando and said he likes how The Alliance fills the football void after the NFL season. “Plus, it’s great to see the head ball coach coaching again,” Russom said. “I love that guy and his style of play.” Bo Armstrong, an Orlando business owner, said he is interested in purchasing season tickets to help support the area’s newest professional sports franchise. “With us being a local business, we do everything […]

32 PLAYERS SIGN NEW CONTRACTS WITH THE ALLIANCE

The Alliance Signed 32 Additional Players to Contracts for the 2019 Inaugural Season Beginning February 9, 2019 on CBS   SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – November 9, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football has signed the following 32 players to contracts for the 2019 inaugural season bringing the league total to 661 players signed: Team Last First Pos College ARIZONA Johnson Steven LB Kansas ARIZONA Moore Rahim DB UCLA ATLANTA Howard Bug WR North Carolina ATLANTA Motuapuaka Andrew LB Virginia Tech ATLANTA Simmons Antonio DE Georgia Tech BIRMINGHAM Brown Leon G Alabama BIRMINGHAM Etta-Tawo Amba WR Maryland BIRMINGHAM Faulk Jeremy DL Garden City CC BIRMINGHAM Fry Elliott K South Carolina BIRMINGHAM Saxton Wes TE South Alabama BIRMINGHAM Schleuger Chris G Alabama-Birmingham MEMPHIS East Andrew LS Vanderbilt MEMPHIS Stribling Channing DB Michigan ORLANDO Eatmon Quinterrius T South Florida ORLANDO Myers Mark DB Southeastern (FL) SALT LAKE Anderson Dres WR Utah SALT LAKE Jennings Adonis WR Temple SALT LAKE Robertson Korey WR Southern Mississippi SAN ANTONIO Ayers Demarcus WR Houston SAN ANTONIO Porter Mo T Baylor SAN ANTONIO Williams Jaboree LB Wake Forest SAN ANTONIO Wren Erick C Oklahoma SAN DIEGO Barrett Alex DT San Diego State SAN DIEGO Fleer Austin T Colorado-Mesa SAN DIEGO Kolone Jeremiah T San Jose State SAN DIEGO Lewis Kyle WR Cal Poly SAN DIEGO Lotuleli John LB Nevada-Las Vegas SAN DIEGO Okeke Tobenna LB Fresno State SAN DIEGO Owusu Francis WR Stanford SAN DIEGO Pericak Will G Colorado   *ALL QUARTERBACKS WHO HAVE SIGNED WITH THE ALLIANCE HAVE RECEIVED ROSTER EXEMPTIONS AND ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A QUARTERBACK DRAFT WHICH WILL OCCUR ON NOVEMBER 27, 2018 IN LAS VEGAS. Last First Pos College *Tolzien Scott QB Wisconsin *Hackenberg Christian QB Penn State   THE FOLLOWING PLAYERS’ RIGHTS HAVE BEEN WAIVED BY THEIR ALLIANCE TEAM AND HAVE BECOME FREE AGENTS ELIGIBLE TO SIGN WITH ANY TEAM Last First Pos College Waived By Eugene Dwayne LB Arkansas MEMPHIS Tucker D’Maujeric RB E. New Mexico State MEMPHIS Bell Wilson G Florida State ORLANDO Durant Davon LB Marshall ORLANDO Johnson Drico DB Central Florida ORLANDO Smith Tyler LB South Carolina State ORLANDO

THE ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL SURPASSES 600 PLAYERS SIGNED

The Alliance Signed 34 Additional Players to Contracts for the 2019 Inaugural Season Beginning February 9, 2019 on CBS SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – October 26, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football has signed the following 37 players to contracts for the 2019 inaugural season bringing the league total to 629 players signed: Team Last First Position College ARIZONA Bunche Malcolm T UCLA ARIZONA Langford Ryan LB New Mexico ARIZONA Lucien Devin WR Arizona State ARIZONA Murphy Pace G Northwestern State ARIZONA Symmank Taylor P Texas Tech ARIZONA Yates Rykeem DE Nevada-Reno ATLANTA #Folston Tarean RB Notre Dame ATLANTA Garrett Keyarris WR Tulsa ATLANTA Griffin Corey DB Georgia Tech ATLANTA Holba Colin LS Louisville ATLANTA Jones J.T. DE Miami (OH) ATLANTA Marvin David P Wofford BIRMINGHAM Dickson Xzavier LP Alabama BIRMINGHAM Greene Brandon T Alabama BIRMINGHAM Taylor Devin DE South Carolina ORLANDO Ferris Drew LS Florida ORLANDO Horton Justin LB Jacksonville ORLANDO Price Sean TE South Florida ORLANDO Northrup Reggie LB Florida State ORLANDO #Orndoff Scott TE Pittsburgh ORLANDO Bracy-Williams Marvin WR Florida State SAN ANTONIO Clear Cameron TE Texas A&M SAN ANTONIO Daly Scott LS Notre Dame SAN ANTONIO Mays Boomer LB Northern Illinois SAN ANTONIO Noil Speedy WR Texas A&M SAN ANTONIO Teuhema Maea SE Louisiana SAN ANTONIO Jones-Smith Jaryd T Pittsburgh SAN DIEGO Baugh Marcus TE Ohio State SAN DIEGO Green Darrell G San Diego State SAN DIEGO Irwin-Hill Sam P Arkansas SAN DIEGO James Kendall DB Maine SAN DIEGO Kelly Kameron DB San Diego State SAN DIEGO Montelus John T Notre Dame *ALL QUARTERBACKS WHO HAVE SIGNED WITH THE ALLIANCE HAVE RECEIVED ROSTER EXEMPTIONS AND ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A QUARTERBACK DRAFT WHICH WILL OCCUR LATER THIS YEAR. Last First Position College *Holman Justin QB Central Florida *Nelson Phillip QB East Carolina *Woodrum Josh QB Liberty

HOTSHOTS ADD TO HEAVYWEIGHT COACHING STAFF

Arizona-native and Hotshots Head Coach Rick Neuheisel Assembles Coaching Staff Phoenix, Ariz. – October 9, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football’s Arizona Hotshots today announced additions to head coach Rick Neuheisel’s staff for the 2019 inaugural season. Nick Aliotti joins the Hotshots as the defensive coordinator, Tim Hundley will be the linebackers coach and Ron Aiken will be the defensive line coach. Chris Reinert joins Neuheisel as an offensive assistant coach, Hugh Freeze will be the offensive coordinator and Steve Axman will be the team’s quarterback coach and offensive assistant coach. “The Alliance is an incredible platform for talented players and qualified coaches looking to begin, extend or revitalize their professional careers,” said Rick Neuheisel, head coach Arizona Hotshots. “When I began curating my coaching staff to join me here in Arizona, I was looking for experienced, dynamic coaches who can help us be the team I’ve envisioned — fast, high-powered and efficient on both sides of the ball. We’re building something special here in Arizona and we want to make this state proud by excelling on and off the field come first snap.” Nick Aliotti, Defensive Coordinator A veteran of 36 seasons on the sidelines Aliotti has experience on both the collegiate and professional levels. Most known for his tenure at the University of Oregon which encompassed parts of the past five decades, Aliotti became one of the most respected defensive minds in football. He began his coaching career with Oregon (1978-79) as a graduate assistant before moving on to in-state rival Oregon State (1980-83) as the Beavers running backs coach. Following his time with Oregon State, Aliotti moved south to Chico State (1984-87) where he took over as offensive coordinator as well as the offensive line. Aliotti then moved to the defensive side of the ball as he began his second stint with the Oregon (1988-94) staff in 1988 tutoring the outside linebackers for five years before taking over the Ducks defensive backs for two seasons. He made the jump to the NFL ranks when he joined the St. Louis Rams (1995-97) as the special teams coordinator before returning to the college game as the defensive coordinator/defensive backs for UCLA (1998). Following one season with the Bruins, Aliotti returned to Oregon where he would spend the next 15 seasons as the Ducks defensive coordinator. Tim Hundley, Linebackers A seasoned coaching veteran whose career has covered five decades of college football, most recently he spent three seasons coaching linebackers and the secondary for UNLV (2012-14). Hundley’s impressive coaching resume includes 16 years calling defenses as a defensive coordinator for FBS programs, his coaching career began in 1974 as a defensive graduate assistant at his alma mater, Western Oregon State. He went on to stints at Clackamas Community College (1975-76) as defensive coordinator/secondary coach before moving on to Idaho (1977-79) as the linebackers and secondary coach for the Vandals, he continued tutoring defenses as he moved on to Nevada (1980-81) to coach the Wolfpacks secondary. Following his time at Nevada he began a stretch in what is now the Pac-12 as he joined the staff at Oregon State (1982-89) […]

Over Five Hundred Players Signed to The Alliance

The Alliance of American Football has reached a milestone in player acquisition, signing over 500 players to contracts for the 2019 inaugural season. The mark was surpassed with the latest batch of signings highlighted below, bringing the total to 515 players signed to contracts. “As we get closer to our first snap on February 9th, our experienced general managers and personnel teams have been working around the clock to build their rosters and offer players a chance to begin, extend or revitalize their careers,” said Bill Polian, co-founder, The Alliance. “I know the pressure and dedication that goes into building a championship-caliber team and it’s been exciting to see our rosters fill up with talented athletes that have come from all over the country – from small universities in the Midwest to powerhouse SEC schools and successful NFL franchises. They are all vying for another shot in professional football.” “Each day, when I see the personnel notice come across my desk, I’m reminded of why The Alliance is a league of opportunity — these players deserve a chance to continue their football careers and I’m honored they chose The Alliance,” said Charlie Ebersol, co-founder, The Alliance. “With our Super Bowl champion league executives, our best-in-class coaches and general managers, these players will take the field in February prepared and supported by those who have been there before them with an opportunity to compete at a high level in front of passionate, engaged fans. We welcome these 515 players to The Alliance.” Rosters Arizona Hotshots Atlanta Legends Birmingham Iron Memphis Express Orlando Apollos Salt Lake Stallions San Antonio Commanders San Diego Fleet

Introducing the Arizona Hotshots

High-hopes homecoming in Arizona for ‘Berco’

By Doug Miller Football fans familiar with Sun Devil Stadium remember Mike Bercovici with a smile, and now they have the possibility of picking up where they left off with “Berco” under center. Bercovici, the popular former Arizona State quarterback, is one of the players on the roster of the new professional team that will play in Tempe, the Arizona Hotshots of The Alliance of American Football, which makes its innovative, elite-level debut on ASU’s home field in February 2019. Bercovici played quarterback for the Sun Devils from 2011-15, and in his senior season he threw for 3,854 yards and 30 touchdowns. Bercovici joins a host of other former Sun Devils on the Valley of the Sun’s AAF roster, which is packed with local flavor. Running back Demario Richard and defensive players Will Sutton, Carl Bradford and D.J. Calhoun all wore the maroon and gold of ASU in their college days. For Bercovici, it’s yet another chance at pro football after serving on NFL practice squads. Bercovici was added to the Arizona Cardinals roster after former starter Carson Palmer broke his left arm last October, and he expressed excitement at being back “home” that he will experience once again in The Alliance. “To be here is a blessing,” Bercovici told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM website. “This is obviously a place where I feel really comfortable.” Bercovici, like many of the players named on AAF rosters, went undrafted by the NFL after an excellent college career. Bercovici spent time with the Chargers, signing with them in May 2016 and going through training camp and the preseason before being waived that September. He might not have taken a snap for the Chargers, but he learned a lot from one of the longest-standing quarterbacks in the NFL, Philip Rivers, and will take that knowledge with him to the Hotshots. “Just about the Xs and Os of the game, being a leader and being the leader of an organization,” Bercovici said in an interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “There is so much cerebral part of the game. Everybody is talented at this level, but the terminology, multiple formations, motions … I feel really excited to take on a new playbook.” He’ll be doing it again in February in one of his favorite places.

Coach Neuheisel: Dream job in AZ

By Doug Miller Rick Neuheisel is a football lifer. It was only a matter of time before he’d try to help build a winner at home. The former star player and coach and current college broadcaster, who will be the head coach of the Phoenix-based Arizona franchise in The Alliance of American Football in its inaugural season (beginning this February), grew up sitting in the seats of Sun Devil Stadium. The home stadium of Arizona State was not far from McClintock High School in Tempe, where he starred at quarterback before heading to UCLA. Now Neuheisel is preparing to patrol the sidelines of that stadium as a professional coach in a new and exciting elite-level venture set to change football starting in the spring of 2019. “I just remember back in 1977,” Neuheisel said in the press conference announcing him as the Arizona franchise coach. “(McClintock) won the state championship, 14-9, so hoping we can rekindle that in 2019. To jump back to coaching is unbelievably exciting. “I’m pinching myself because it’s really happening. If it seems like I’m in a coma, it’s because I don’t want to be woken up.” Neuheisel has had his share of football glory. He was the MVP of the 1984 Rose Bowl while quarterback at UCLA, a pro QB with the San Antonio Gunslingers of the USFL in 1984 and ’85, and had some NFL time in 1987 with the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Neuheisel also coached at Colorado (1995-98), won a Rose Bowl as head coach of Washington (1999-2002), coached UCLA (2008-11), was quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, and has been a broadcaster since May 2012. Currently, he’s a college football analyst for CBS and a broadcaster on SiriusXM Radio. And now this. Neuheisel will be working with an experienced executive in Arizona general manager Phil Savage, and he’ll be fulfilling a dream that was set in motion as soon as he heard about what league co-founder and CEO Charlie Ebersol was trying to accomplish with The Alliance. “From the very beginning of the conversation about this … starting two years ago, he made it his life’s mission to bring a team to Arizona and the Phoenix-Tempe area,” Ebersol said at the introductory press conference. “Eventually, I said, ‘Coach, we always wanted to go to Phoenix.” But Neuheisel’s goals for the Arizona team and Ebersol’s goals for The Alliance as a whole are not just about compelling football games for a nation of fans that just can’t seem to get enough football. There’s going to be a lot more to the AAF than that. “We want to be a complement to the NFL,” Neuheisel said, and to that end, he spoke of a desire to assist players with their careers and lives after their football-playing days have come to a close. Neuheisel did the same, passing Bar exams in the state of Arizona and in Washington, D.C., between playing and coaching. But come February, the action will be on the field at Sun Devil Stadium and Neuheisel will be back with a headset, a team […]

Arizona Hotshots proudly unveiled in Valley

By Mark Newman The Grand Canyon State has a new pro football team, and its name is a bull’s-eye in Arizona, profound in its appreciation for fearlessness, skill and honor. The Alliance of American Football proudly introduces the Arizona Hotshots. The Hotshots are one of eight teams in The Alliance of American Football, and will play their games at Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium beginning in February. They are already eager to make their mark on the vibrant Valley sports scene. The Hotshots draw inspiration from the  more than 100 elite teams of exemplary, ferocious wildland firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service and other federal, state and county agencies, mostly located in the west. Hotshot firefighters are highly successful and an essential line of defense in battling the most serious wildfires across the country. The Arizona Hotshots will gratefully display the firefighters’ familiar cross-axe Pulaskis in their logo. The color scheme and designs tip their helmets to the heroes who confront orange-fire disasters wearing yellow helmets and shirts with dark green pants. The Hotshots recognize this is an outstanding chance to represent the region as they take on every challenge with only positive outcomes in mind. The other big step forward, of course, is the ongoing buildup of player signings, with many easily recognizable names so far. Teams have been granted territorial rights to former collegiate and NFL players, and they can also sign players who are from universities and NFL teams not designated for any of the eight Alliance franchises. “We want to make opportunities for ALL of Arizona,” Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson told the ABC affiliate in Phoenix. “We’re not selfish about ASU. If an Arizona player or a Northern Arizona player gets a chance to have preferential treatment in terms of being able to stay home along with Sun Devil players, let’s put ‘em all together and go win.” Now those players in Arizona will have one more thing in common. They will be Hotshots.

Arizona GM Phil Savage has big-time history

By Doug Miller Phil Savage traveled around the training camps of the NFL in August. He paced around the sidelines at preseason games. He talked to coaches and executives and players and whoever else wanted to give him valuable information. He searched for talent nationwide. He was back in the scouting game in professional football, and it had to feel good. Savage played and coached in college, coached in the NFL, ran his own NFL team as a senior vice president and general manager (the Cleveland Browns from 2005-08), worked in the front offices of the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles, spent nine years broadcasting for the University of Alabama, and had a six-year stint as executive director of the Senior Bowl. He also wrote a book called “Fourth and Goal Every Day.” That’s a lot of years being around the game he loves. Now he’s on board at the start of something new, bold and innovative. He’s the GM of the Arizona Hotshots in The Alliance of American Football, and he’s delighted about it, particularly after spending the summer watching the NFL gear up for its season. “I think that obviously, we’ve got to get ourselves off the ground and get going,” Savage said in a recent interview on CBS Sports Radio. Savage, 53, is no stranger to helping build championship teams. He’s been among some of the sharpest minds in the sport. In 1991, he was hired by then-Cleveland coach Bill Belichick to join the Browns staff. He worked alongside Belichick and assistant coach Nick Saban, among others, and saw how attention to detail and relentless preparation pays off down. After Savage followed late Cleveland owner Art Modell to Baltimore in 1995 to begin a new chapter with the Ravens, he played a role in drafting numerous star players, including linebacker Ray Lewis, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, safety Ed Reed, linebacker Terrell Suggs and running back Jamal Lewis. Those results speak quite loudly for themselves. The Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000 and again in 2012 with Hall of Famer Lewis anchoring both defenses and Ogden winning a ring in 2000 and serving as honorary captain of the ’12 team. “Phil’s experience as an NFL coach, scout, player personnel executive and general manager is exactly what is needed to build a championship-caliber team from scratch,” said J.K. McKay, Head of Football Operations for The Alliance. “Over the course of his career he has shown a knack for identifying top talent, and we look forward to him doing the same” in Arizona. “There are really good people involved in it,” Savage said in the CBS appearance. “The timeline works. Our season runs February through April. … “This is going to be an option for players to get better.” Savage says he’s been enjoying the ramp-up to the unique spring season and the opportunity The Alliance represents for fans and players alike.

THE ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL NAMES TEAM PRESIDENTS

New Professional Football League Names Seven Team Presidents for Atlanta, Birmingham, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and Salt Lake City SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – August 28, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football has named seven team Presidents who will lead all business operations for The Alliance in their respective cities. The Alliance announced that David Livingston (Atlanta), Tom Ward (Birmingham), Mike Waddell (Orlando), Scott Brubaker (Phoenix), Tyler Howell (Salt Lake City), Vic Gregovits (San Antonio) and Jeff Garner (San Diego) are joining Alliance Memphis team president Kosha Irby, who was announced in May, in the new professional football league. “As we began our journey to find the right leader for each organization, we had a specific set of criteria that we felt was uniquely specific to each city,” said Tom Veit, head of business operations, The Alliance. “Ultimately we were able to find an incredible group of team presidents that possess the intellect, leadership, and strategic mindset necessary to build our alliance.” “As we expand our footprint in each of our eight Alliance markets, our team presidents will build thoughtful community partnerships to ensure we are active and engaged members building lasting and meaningful relationships.” Among the additions announced today are respected executives in a variety of sports and entertainment fields which include: ATLANTA: As an experienced marketer with a career forged building brand programs and platforms connected to sports and entertainment, W. David Livingston joins Alliance Atlanta from Comcast Spectacor’s Spectra Venue Management team where he served as director, national corporate partnerships. Livingston also spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and 15 years leading sales and business development for IMG Golf in Cleveland. He began his career in brand management at Procter and Gamble. BIRMINGHAM: A well-rounded and results-driven sports executive with 25 years of experience in marketing, sales, partnership, broadcasting, arena/stadium naming rights and business development, Tom Ward joins Alliance Birmingham after serving as the senior vice president, brand, community, partnership development for the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League. Ward is a veteran award-winning storyteller who has played an integral role in the launching of multiple professional sports franchises and opening arenas and stadiums. ORLANDO: A veteran professional sports and college athletics administrator, Mike Waddell joins Alliance Orlando after spending the previous two years as vice president of Richmond Raceway. In his role with NASCAR, Waddell’s responsibilities included oversight over all marketing, ticketing, strategic communications, creative, digital strategy, eaSports and fan engagement operations for the raceway, which operates as one of the 12 motorsports facilities of International Speedway Corporation. PHOENIX: A well-respected sports sponsorship sales professional with deep Arizona roots, Scott Brubaker joins Alliance Phoenix from Learfield bringing with him more than 30 years of experience. While with Learfield, Brubaker held a variety of senior roles within the company across multiple properties, the last of which was vice president, national sales located in Chicago and Atlanta. SALT LAKE CITY: A veteran sports industry sales professional with over 20 years in leadership experience, Tyler Howell joins Alliance Salt Lake City following an impressive stint with the Portland Trail Blazers. During his time in Portland, Howell had […]

THE ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL ADDS 105 PLAYERS

The Alliance Signs 105 Players to Contracts for the 2019 Inaugural Season Beginning February 9, 2019 Latest Signings Bring League Total to 205 Players SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – August 17, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football has signed the following 105 players to contracts for the 2019 inaugural season:

THE ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL SIGNS FIRST 100 PLAYERS

New Professional Football League Begins Player Acquisition Process for 2019 Inaugural Season SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – August 6, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football has signed its first 100 players to compete in the new professional league launching on February 9, 2019. The Alliance recently began the process of offering player contracts to potential prospects following an extensive evaluation process by the personnel staff of The Alliance’s eight teams. “Today marks an exciting step in our journey to providing fans and players with top-flight football in the spring, as we begin to establish a competitive foundation and base of talent that will keep expanding throughout this fall and winter,” explained Bill Polian, co-founder and head of football, The Alliance. “These athletes will now have an opportunity to begin, extend or revitalize their professional football careers and continue playing the game we all love.” He added, “Our personnel staff, general managers and coaches will continue to recruit aggressively in the days and months to come. Team-building is a never ending task and we are excited to attack that challenge and to build on this very positive start.” The standard Alliance player contract offers players a base salary of $250,000 over three years with a comprehensive bonus system which will award financial compensation based on a variety of metrics such as performance, win, and fan engagement. Additionally, players who make final rosters will be offered postsecondary education assistance and health and wellness benefits. Players are allocated to Alliance teams based on where they competed in college. If a player’s college is outside The Alliance footprint, he will be allocated based on his most recent NFL/CFL team. If a player’s college is outside The Alliance allocation footprint AND he did not play in the NFL or CFL, then he is unallocated and available to be tendered a contract by any Alliance team. If a player signs with The Alliance and is then offered a contract to play in the National Football League, the player will be granted permission to pursue that opportunity.

Another new professional football league will start next February, getting a head start on the XFL

Spring football is returning — and sooner than we thought. The Alliance of American Football league was announced Tuesday and will debut on Feb. 9, 2019, a week after Super Bowl LIII and at least a year before the XFL resurfaces sometime in 2020. Charlie Ebersol — whose father, Dick Ebersol, founded the original XFL with WWE's Vince McMahon almost two decades ago — created the new league along with Pro Football Hall of Fame member Bill Polian, formerly NFL general manager and currently an ESPN analyst. {{ vc_btn:title=Learn+More&shape=square&link=url%3Ahttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.latimes.com%252Fsports%252Fsportsnow%252Fla-sp-alliance-american-football-20180320-story.html%7C%7Ctarget%3A%2520_blank%7C }}

New AAF pro football league, set for 2019 debut, described as ‘complementary’ to NFL

The XFL won’t be the only new professional football league set to launch over the next couple of years.

Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward, More to Oversee Alliance of America Football League

The new Alliance of American Football will include the involvement of former NFL general manager Bill Polian as well as former NFL players Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward and Justin Tuck. {{ vc_btn:title=Learn+More&shape=square&link=url%3Ahttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.sportsbusinessdaily.com%252FDaily%252FMorning-Buzz%252F2018%252F03%252F20%252FAlliance-of-American-Football.aspx%7C%7Ctarget%3A%2520_blank%7C }}

Why A New Football League Thinks It Has What It Takes To Survive

The All American Football League, United Football League, United States Football League, Fall Experimental Football League, Major League Football and North American Football League all have something in common -- {{ vc_btn:title=Learn+More&shape=square&link=url%3Ahttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.forbes.com%252Fsites%252Fdarrenheitner%252F2018%252F03%252F21%252Fwhy-a-new-football-league-thinks-it-has-what-it-takes-to-survive%252F%252338bb2810555a%7C%7Ctarget%3A%2520_blank%7C }}

Charlie Ebersol The Latest To Try Hand At Spring Football League

Vince McMahon in January announced plans to launch a new XFL by ‘20. At a media event in N.Y. this morning, Charlie Ebersol announced his plans to launch a competing, single-entity spring football league called the Alliance of American Football in February. Longtime NBC Sports boss Dick Ebersol, Charlie’s father and a driving force behind the original XFL, will be on the AAF's BOD. The AAF carries a roster of high-profile investors including The Chernin Group and Founders Fund, which was an early investor in Facebook, Space-X and Lyft. M Ventures, entrepreneur Keith Rabois and former NFLer Jared Allen also are investing in the league. Charlie Ebersol would not say how much he raised or how much the league needs to succeed. “Getting a lot of money was obviously important, but getting the right money was even more important,” Ebersol said. “All of these previous attempts have been based on the idea of a one- or two-year business model. I went out and said, ‘Look, I need money for seven-to-10 years.’ They were the type of people that jumped on board.” The AAF already has a deal in place with CBS Sports, which has committed to show the league’s first game in primetime on its broadcast network on Feb. 9. That is the week following Super Bowl LII, which will be produced by CBS. The broadcast network also has committed to show the league’s first championship game in primetime the weekend of April 26-28. CBS Sports Network will carry a weekly regular-season game. All games will be live streamed for free via the league’s app, which will allow for an in-game fantasy component. {{ vc_btn:title=Learn+More&shape=square&link=url%3Ahttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.sportsbusinessdaily.com%252FDaily%252FMorning-Buzz%252F2018%252F03%252F20%252FAlliance-of-American-Football.aspx%7C%7Ctarget%3A%2520_blank%7C }}

XFL documentary maker plans new football league

While Vince McMahon promises to bring back a revamped XFL in 2020, a son of McMahon's partner in the original short-lived XFL venture said his football league will come first. And some big NFL names will be involved. Charlie Ebersol, who directed a documentary on the XFL that aired last year as part of ESPN's 30 for 30 series, announced Tuesday that his league, the Alliance of American Football, plans to debut Feb. 9, 2019, the week after Super Bowl LIII. The season will run 10 weeks and will have 50-man teams. {{ vc_btn:title=Learn+More&shape=square&link=url%3Ahttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.espn.com%252Fnfl%252Fstory%252F_%252Fid%252F22844453%252Fxfl-documentary-maker-plans-own-football-league%7C%7Ctarget%3A%2520_blank%7C }}

New Pro Football League Sets 2019 Debut With CBS Sports Pact

Charlie Ebersol made a documentary about why the XFL failed. Now he’s set to launch an eight-team pro football league in 2019 with a CBS Sports broadcast deal and a roster of ex-NFL players in executive and advisory roles – a year ahead of WWE chairman Vince McMahon’s planned XFL reboot.