- All American Football League
Infobox sports league
pixels = 115px
caption = All American Football League logo
founded = 2007
teams = 6
country = USA
champion = N/A
website = [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com Official Site] The All American Football League is a proposed professional
American footballleague. The league, which combined a professional pay structure with the requirement that all players be college graduates, had originally been scheduled to start in the spring of 2007, but later postponed its launch to the spring of 2008. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=klosterman/070605&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab3pos2 ESPN Page 2 - Klosterman: Spring fling] ] Although announcing its schedule and already selling tickets, financial problems caused the league to postpone its first season once again, for 2009.
League formation and structure
The All American Football League, scheduled to have started play in April 2008, was a professional American football league premised on the rule that all of its players had to have a four-year university degree, as employees of the AAFL rather than of the franchises, with the league to pay each player an average compensation of approximately $100,000 to year-round player employees and $50,000 to season-only players to attract the best non-NFL talent. The AAFL's inaugural Draft took place on
January 26, 2008.
For its first season, the AAFL established six franchises, all but one of which were located in the
Southern United States(Team Michigan being the lone exception). One of the more unusual features of the league was that the teams had no nicknames, being referred to as "Team Florida", "Team Texas", etc. The teams, which had hired coaches, drafted players, and contracted with stadiums to host game were:
Team Alabama– (Birmingham, Legion Field), coached by Mike Jones, former head coach of Frankfurt in NFL Europa. The team includes former Crimson Tide players ( Reggie Myles, Alonzo Ephraim, and Marcus Spencer) and Karibi Dede, Tre Smithand Kendall Mackfrom the Auburn Tigers.
* Team Florida – (Gainesville,
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium) coached by Shane Matthews. Signed players include former Gators quarterback Chris Leakand former FSU standout and 1st round draft pick, Peter Warrick. The two final home games will be played in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, Jacksonvilleand Raymond James Stadium, Tampa.
Team Michigan– (Detroit, Ford Field), coached by John Fontes, former assistant coach of the Detroit Lions. Players have been signed from Central Michigan University, Ferris State University, Michigan State University, University of Michiganand Western Michigan University.
Team Tennessee– (Knoxville, Neyland Stadium), coached by Andy Kelly. Signed players include former University of Tennessee kicker James Wilhoit, and Rod Smartbetter known as "He Hate Me".
Team Texas– (Houston, Rice Stadium), coached by former University of Houstoncoach John Jenkins
The league was unveiled at a press conference in
New York Cityon July 26, 2006, with Cedric Dempsey, former president of the NCAA, as its Chairman. Before that, Dempsey was the longtime athletic director at the University of Arizona. The rest of the league's Board of Directors included various well-known sports and private industry individuals.
The league signed agreements from a specific, manageable target list of football tradition-rich universities and prominent stadiums which would host games during the spring months. Each team drafted and/or signed players that graduated from the host state's universities. The AAFL draft took place on January 26 and 27, 2008. An AAFL release stated that a player "must, without exception, have earned a 4-year degree or more advanced degree to be eligible to play in League games." The release added that other players would be invited to try out "in the hopes that the opportunity will inspire them to complete their education". [ [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/faq.php All American Football League - Frequently Asked Questions] ]
With the demise of
NFL Europa, the AAFL would compete with the Arena Football Leagueand af2for talent among spring football leagues. According to the Associated Pressreport of the league's formation, Dempsey had stated that AAFL players would earn about $100,000 a season, as compared to the $30,000 minimum paid by the Arena Football League. Moreover, the league, rather than the franchise owners, would pay the players and coaches in order to control spending. Later, however, the league announced that "During its initial season, most players will be paid $5,000 per game plus benefits, slightly higher than the salaries of the now defunct XFL. Six players on each team will be designated as franchise players, who will be eligible for an additional $50,000 per year." [ [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/faq.php All American Football League - Frequently Asked Questions] ]
The league announced a 10-game season for 2008, from April 12 to June 14, with all six teams to play in one division during the first season. The teams with the 2nd and 3rd best records in the regular season would meet in a playoff for the right to face the number one team in a championship game to be played on July 3, 2008. The AAFL released its schedule in October, 2007, with the April 12, 2008 games consisting of Alabama at Florida (at Jacksonville), Arkansas at Texas, and Michigan at Tennessee. The AAFL held its kickoff tryouts on July 2–3, 2007, in
Orlando, Florida. On July 26, tryouts were held in Birmingham, Alabama; more followed in Little Rock, Arkansas(August 18); Detroit, Michigan(September 13); Tampa, Floridaon October 12; Houston, Texason October 24 and 25; and Knoxville, Tennessee(December 6 and 7).
The AAFL had announced partnerships with
New Balance, official supplier of on-field AAFL team apparel [ [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/NewBalDealPR.php League announces deal with New Balance] ] ; Schutt, official supplier of helmets and protective equipment [ [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/SchuttSportsPR.php League announces deal with Schutt] ] ; Baden, official supplier of AAFL footballs [ [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/BadenSportsPR.php League announces deal with Baden] ] ; Rogers Athletic Company, official supplier of football equipment [ [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/RogersAthleticPR.php League Announces deal with Rogers] ] ; and the NFL Officiating Department, which will provide officiating support. [ [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/AAFLpartnerswithNFLPR.php League announces deal with NFL Officiating] ]
Postponement of inaugural season
March 13, 2008, the league announced that the 2008 season would not take place, and expressed hope that the league might play in 2009. [ [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/| ALL AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE POSTPONES INAUGURAL SEASON UNTIL 2009] ] The AAFL website issued a statement that "The All American Football League (AAFL) announced today the postponement of its inaugural season until 2009. The League will continue to build upon the foundation that has been established, and will continue to discuss opportunities with potential investors. AAFL sponsors have committed to remain on board for the 2009 season. Currently, the League has corporate partnerships with New Balance, Baden Sports and Rogers Athletic. Also still in place for the 2009 season are a national radio partnership with Touchdown Radio & SportsDay Productions, and an internet broadcast partnership with PlayOn! Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting." Keenan Davis, Vice-president of league operations and Chief Operating Officer said that "We are so very fortunate to have built partnerships with companies who are partners in the truest sense of the word. We sincerely appreciate their support as we progress toward our new goal of a 2009 inaugural season." The league press release added that "All fans who have purchased tickets to 2008 AAFL games will receive a full refund. Credit cards will be credited and any checks received will be returned."
The Houston Business Journal reported that Team Texas had sold only 250 season tickets, and that team president Mike Pede had announced that the ten employees of Team Texas would be laid off and would "receive severance depending on their length of time with the organization". [ [http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2008/03/10/daily32.html?jst=b_ln_hl| AAFL cancels 2008 season, plans to kick off in 2009] ]
The league had announced one week earlier that the league was considering a postponement of its season, stating that "Since inception, the League's finances have been indirectly tied to the $300 billion federally guaranteed student loan asset backed securities market. In August, the sub prime mortgage crisis began spreading into other sectors such as municipal bonds and federally guaranteed student loans. The situation, which was considered to be temporary at the time, has continued to worsen. Despite the fact that the Federal Reserve has repeatedly lowered interest rates during this financial crisis, their efforts have not yet restored liquidity in many asset backed markets, including municipal bonds and student loans."
All players signed to AAFL teams were immediately released and were free to sign elsewhere.
Television and radio
The AAFL draft was broadcast live on the league's website, and on several stations. [ cite web | url = http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/AAFLDraftInformation.php| accessdate = 2008-01-22 | title = AAFL Draft Coverage | publisher = AllAmericanFootballLeague.com]
A national radio contract with
Sirius Satellite Radiohad been announced [ [http://aaflsource.blogspot.com/2008/02/ready-for-kickoff-aafl-gameday-plans-tv.html League President Confirms Sirius Deal and talks about possible TV deals] ] , along with a radio broadcast deal for all games through Touchdown Radio Productions. [ [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/TouchdownRadioPartnershipPR.php League announces national radio contract] ] Other potential broadcasters were SportsDay Productions, Armed Forces Network, and the Sports Byline USAnational distribution service.
The league had been trying to secure a national television contract but was unable to do so prior to their postponement of the inaugural season, part of the reason why the league chose not to play the 2008 season.
Board of directors
A diverse group of leaders from within intercollegiate athletics that served on the Board of Directors:
* Cedric W. Dempsey, former President of the
National Collegiate Athletic Association(“NCAA”) and former AD at the University of Arizona.
Doug Dickey, former AD at the University of Tennessee, former Head Coach at the University of Tennesseeand former Head Coach at the University of Florida.
* Dr. Martin Massengale, former Chancellor and President of the
University of Nebraska.
* Dr. Charles Young, former Chancellor at the
University of California, Los Angelesand former President of the University of Florida.
* Gene Corrigan, former athletic director of the
University of Notre Dameand Commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
* Marcus Katz, former student loan executive.
* Pete Dalis, retired Athletic Director at
Jack Lengyel, former AD at the University of Missouriand the U.S. Naval Academy, and President of the National Association of College Athletic Directors. As the head coach at Marshall Universityduring 1971-74, Lengyel was portrayed in the 2006 film " We Are Marshall".
Gary Roberts, Dean of the School of Law of Indiana Universityand former Vice Dean, Professor of Law and Director of Sports Law at Tulane University.
* Dr. Charles Wethington, former President of the
University of Kentuckyand Chairman of the NCAAExecutive Committee.
The AAFL Draft took place in Atlanta on Saturday,
January 26, 2008.cite web | url = http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/AAFLDraftInformation.php| accessdate = 2008-01-22 | title = AAFL Draft Coverage | publisher = AllAmericanFootballLeague.com] The first player selected overall was Zarah Yisrael, offensive lineman from Troy University, who was picked by Team Arkansas.
Under the draft rules, each team was permitted to designate a number of "protected" players from schools within their area. Thus, Team Florida listed, as protected, former Gators' quarterback
Chris Leak, as well as players from Florida colleges. Team Texas could put players from Texas schools on its list. The downside to listing a large number of players as "protected" was that they forfeited a few picks early in the draft. Each team had a total of 50 picks; the protected players counted against this number, and were counted as having been selected in the middle rounds.
2008 All American Football League season
* [http://footballandcoaching.com/coach-play-minor-league-football/the-aafl-a-football-coaches-dream/ Review of AAFL]
* [http://www.thedailytimes.com/sited/story/html/261787 Article about Knoxville awarded a franchise]
* [http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060727/SPORTS0602/607270449/-1/ZONES01 Article about team in West Lafayette]
* [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/LATimesArticle.html Article - Los Angeles Times: Football Minus the Pretense]
* [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com Official website]
* [http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/faq.html League FAQ page]
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