A pro football league launched and nobody noticed

The Alliance will provide players a comprehensive bonus system, post-football career planning as well as counseling and scholarship support for postsecondary education.

The Alliance of American Football will kick off the following Sunday.

Furnishing ratings guarantees for the CBSSN package may prove to be a bit of a challenge for the CBS Sports ad sales team, given that the cable network's deliveries are not distributed by Nielsen.

It appears the new XFL will have some competition when it comes to debut football leagues. Here's why the Alliance has a strong chance of succeeding: the folks involved. And while it's far too soon to predict how filmmaker Charlie Ebersol's upstart Alliance of American Football will fare, the startup already has a TV distribution deal in place with CBS.

While Ebersol and Polian's presentation wasn't exactly overladen with details-as with McMahon's XFL presser, the formal introduction to the AAF did not include any information about which cities were expected to host the eight startup teams-securing distribution on CBS/CBS Sports Network represents a significant development for the upstart league. Those are some heavy hitters at the top of the hierarchy, and they've made the smart move of bringing former NFL players on board to try and give it their best shot at making this league work. "That is the guiding philosophy".

Working with Ebersol is Bill Polian, formerly National Football League general manager and now an analyst for ESPN.

Polian says the rosters will be culled from players who were cut by NFL teams, undrafted players, players looking to return to football; and free agents from the CFL or elsewhere.

As a single entity, the Alliance will own all contracts and players will be dispersed in a variety of manners. If the team converts the fourth-and-10, then the team will keep possession. We are also talking about former players.


Team names and locations have yet to be announced.

A draft of players in late fall after the college season concludes — "Players who probably are coming off injury or some other situation where they want to perhaps play in our league in order to enhance their draft status", Polian explains — also is planned.

Kickoffs are out in order to improve player safety.

There also will be no kickoffs (the ball will be placed automatically at the 25-yard line) and no onside kicks.

'There are 28,000 Division I football players.

The three-point stance for linemen, judged by many a unsafe technique, also could be banned. In addition, there will be no extra point attempts. The three of them had a private viewing together. "We're going to do something that should have been done a long time ago", Ebersol said.

To reel in football fans, the AAF will make some modifications to the NFL's rules.

"Fifty-nine million people play fantasy and 20 million people play only fantasy football", Ebersol said.


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