Jody Oehler - AAF Week One: What Went Right, What Went Wrong

 

Some quick thoughts on the Arizona Hotshots and AAF’s debut weekend:

Strengths

1) Ths isn’t gimmicky football. Its not great football but its not bad football either. I’d equate

it to the 4th quarter of the Hall of Fame game in the NFL preseason. The good news:

The AAF is easily the best minor league football I’ve ever seen. The bad news: The AAF

is easily the best minor league football I’ve ever seen.

2) Some of the rule changes already are putting pressure on NFL. The AAF’s immediate

legacy as an incubator for new ideas has been its most positive early return. No kickoffs,

no extra points, no onside kicks but instead a 4th and 12 scenario from your own 28 in

lieu of an onside kick and no one missed any of them at all.

3) Games were easy to find and generated a lot of social media attention. Turning on the

Hotshots game last night was easy, I knew it was on the NFL Network. These games

weren’t buried on your cable guide and didn’t require you to register for any app or other

streaming service. I appreciate that as someone who never again wants to remember a

username or password for a service I use once in a blue moon.

Challenges

1) Its never been easier to get our collective attention but its also never been harder to

keep our collective attention. Can the AAF keep any of its momentum over the next few

weeks/months?

2) Much of the QB play was dreadful. Are there enough QB’s to make the league

interesting? No one cares if you are methodically developing the next wave of back up

interior offensive lineman for the NFL gristle mill or providing a showcase for future

special teams gunners league wide, if your QB’s suck, you league isn’t going to last long.

Once the league can establish its going to be viable for a while, it needs to get

aggressive trying to become a college alternative for some good high school QB’s.

3) The uniforms for most teams scream “minor league”. The nicknames and logos are all

pretty solid but the actual uniforms look like leftovers from a small budget movie that

couldn’t get NFL licensing.

For the Arizona Hotshots specifically, they may be the best team in the league but their biggest

challenge is their home venue. There were reported to be just over 11,500 people who attended

the game. That’s only about 3000 fewer than attend the average Suns game which is good but

at Sun Devil Stadium it looked EMPTY. The Hotshots would be smart to copy the Phoenix

Rising’s model and find a pop up stadium in the area that can create a bit more of an intimate

feel and more social media friendly aesthetic.

The Drive

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