Will You Watch?

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

It’s called the Alliance of American Football (AAF).  It was spawned by filmmaker Charlie Ebersol after he made a documentary about the old XFL, a league that failed.  Former NFL general manager Bill Polian is considered a co-founder.  Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward, Justin Tuck, Mike Pereira, and Dick Ebersol are all involved.  The league played this past weekend.

The eight teams will play four games each weekend (two on Saturday and two on Sunday).  There is an Eastern Conference (Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Orlando Apollos) and a Western Conference (Arizona Hotshots, Salt Lake Stallions, San Antonio Commanders, San Diego Fleet).  The season will last 10 weeks with a four-team playoff and a championship game April 27 in Las Vegas.

Every player signed a three-year, $250,000 contract ($70,000 the first year).  Every player no matter the position is paid the same amount with potential bonuses.  Community contributions can earn a player more money.  Some players were selected based on their college locality and the AAF team’s location.  It was called a territorial draft so fans in a given region would know some of their players.

Some interesting differences with the NFL:

  • No TV timeouts (60% fewer full-screen commercials)
  • The goal is to play a game under 150 minutes compared to the 180 for an average NFL game
  • No extra points – only two-point conversions
  • Defenses can only rush five players and none from more than two yards outside the tackles
  • No kickoffs; possessions are started at the 25-yard line
  • The play clock is 35 seconds (the NFL is 40)
  • Only the coaches’ challenges will be replayed with automatic replays, if needed, in the final two minutes of each half
  • Overtime consists of putting the ball on the 10-yard line and giving each team a possession and the team can only score via a touchdown. After one possession, if the score is still tied, the game ends in a tie.
  • There will be an extra official (called a sky judge) who reviews every play and that judge can add or take away penalties missed or made by the on-field officials.

CBS, CBSSN, NFL Network, TNT, and Sirius XM will all air select games.  The NFL Network’s involvement is a good sign.  CBS, which televised the opening regional games, had higher ratings than the NBA game on ABC, but a rerun of America’s Got Talent had the highest ratings.

So, I ask you, “Will you watch it?”

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING) 

  1. MLB’s spring training is right around the corner. The Phillies have already improved their roster, but the Philly fans want Manny Machado or Bryce Harper or both.  If they get either, watch out.  Between the Sixers and the Phillies, and maybe the Flyers, the town could go crazy!
  1. The Flyers are generating some hockey interest again with their new goalie, Carter Hart. He has won a record eight straight for Philadelphia, and set a record for consecutive wins by a goalie under 21 years of age.  They currently trail Pittsburgh by six points for a playoff spot.
  1. With all the excitement about the Sixers adding Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, JJ Redick performs at a high offensive level every night. He is averaging 18.7 points per game, makes 90% of his free throws, and 39% of his three-point shots.
  1. Congratulations are in order for the Bethlehem Catholic and the Northampton wrestling teams. The Lehigh Valley can be proud of the fact that two local teams were in the PIAA 3A championship final.  Beca won their 7th title and their second in a row.  But it is good to see Northampton is back.

P.S. Nazareth and Liberty are probably the next two best teams in the state.

  1. The EPC and the Colonial girls’ and boys’ championships are on RCN-TV on Friday night – six hours of outstanding basketball starting at 6:00pm.

 

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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