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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!

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. […]