Arizona Hotshots News


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.


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 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:


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& }}

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& }}

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& }}

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& }}

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& }}

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.