Latest posts by Mickey W (see all)
- AAF Week 7 Grades – Memphis Express Week 7 Grades - March 27, 2019
- Memphis Express Week 5 Grades - March 12, 2019
- The Midway Point – AAF Week 5 Preview Memphis Express At Atlanta Legends - March 6, 2019
Over the past year there have been a few new Spring Pro-Football leagues that have announced plans of playing. Of the these, there are really two with real money and media behind them. First was the new XFL, as announced by Vince McMahon, which will play in 2020. Just a few weeks later another league was announced by Charlie Ebersol, this one was called The Alliance of American Football (hereafter the AAF). While the XFL has name recognition from the prior league of the same name, the AAF is something entirely different and deserves it’s time to shine. It will get its chance to shine as it will be playing by itself here with the first games starting February 9th and 10th of 2019.
The question becomes, why should someone want to support the AAF? Outside of saying “it’s football”, which is obvious, there are plenty of other reasons to support and want the AAF to succeed. While it is a for-profit business venture, the league has made a point in embracing the communities in which they will be playing. This is not something to ignore. Anyone can set up a league and play football. Not everyone will think about what they can do for others while still waiting to get off the ground. This shows the league has a heart uncommon for a start up in the business of sports.
On January 20th, even in the middle of training camp with guys still hoping to make the teams, the AAF had players from the Memphis, Orlando and Arizona teams take time on what would have been an off day to go to the San Antonio Food Bank (all teams had their pre-season camps in San Antonio, Texas) to work in the warehouse to prepare food for the many hungry families to have something to eat. It is important to note; the players are mostly young and not wealthy like NFL players are and many are still facing uncertain professional futures. However, this did not stop them or the league from wanting to give back to their community.
Before this other teams did similar within the communities they will be playing. The Mid-South Food Bank had executives and personnel from The Memphis Express on hand December 5th help in a food drive that will go a long way to help feed the less fortunate in the area during the holiday season.
All the teams also held events in their communities where fans had a chance to interact with players in different settings. In Memphis, for example, they met at the Main Event (Bar, Arcade, Restaurant) and the players bowled and played video games with fans and children making many fans for life and taking time out of their own private time to just be with the people who will support them in an informal way. Showing that they are not just pros playing for city in glitzy clothes surrounded by security, but in plain clothes taking part of the surroundings and showing that they are making themselves available as new members within the Memphis community itself.
In Atlanta, the local team known as the Legends, is giving $10 from every ticket sold for their home opener to “Hands on Atlanta”. This non-profit is engaged with organizations and schools in need while trying to improve the lives of the underprivileged in their area, with a noted focus on the youth. Imagine that, giving $10 back (and average ticket sells for only $35) to the charity when you would think you need every dollar to just get off the ground. The commitment to children goes past just giving money to Charity, the Legends spent time at University Children’s Hospital in San Antonio working on crafts and playing games with patients.
The Salt Lake City Stallions, not to be out done, went to the Ronald McDonald Home for critically ill children and did some dirty work by cleaning the house in addition to spending time with the young patients, providing a light to what in many ways is a dark time in the lives of their families.
The actions of the league. Its players and the executives speak louder than their words. Yes, they will play football. Yes, they will bring new technology and rules. Yes, they do want to make money. But, the actions show that they are absolutely committed to their fans and to the communities in which they will be playing in. They are not there to just bask in the spotlight, but to help shine the spotlight on others who really need it. If there is a such thing as Karma, surely this league will flourish and grow. Good things deserve to happen to good people.