(Author’s note: Is this blog actually just one long sub-tweet? Maybe!)
If you still don’t know what the Alliance of American Football, or The Alliance, is don’t worry. You haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably just been… living.
Anyway The Alliance is the new spring football league that hopes to fill your football void and serve as a springboard for players to get a second chance at the NFL.
The season kicked off Saturday night to a strong rating, matching the NBA’s meaningless regular season contest that was airing on ABC. On one hand that’s impressive to draw that high of a number on a Saturday night, on the other hand it’s not so surprising since most of this country goes gaga for any form of American Football.
But if you followed the wrong people on Twitter Saturday night, you’d have thought the NFL was kicking off a new season. Admittedly, there were only about three people on my timeline tweeting about the Alliance, one of which was Darren Rovell sooooo, but boy were they tweeting about it.
I’ll be the last person to question what you want to watch. I’m a big believer in ‘to each their own’ and if you want to watch crappy American Football on a Saturday night go for it (I will always wonder why people watch the NFL draft over the NBA/NHL playoffs – watch the live sports, read about the draft online).
What boggles my mind is how people were acting like they were diehard fans of the league and the teams. How? Not only is it just the first game, but if you’re not from one of the cities how are you even picking a team to support?
I get how that might sound hypocritical considering how I, like many Americans, are avid fans of Premier League football. How do you end up becoming a fan of Manchester United, Arsenal, or Tottenham when they have no local ties?
As anyone will tell you, you simply watch the games and let the team pick you. That would also be the presumptive strategy for fans of The Alliance but there’s still a big difference. The Premier League is better than what we have.
I love soccer. When I started following the game New York had one local club, now we have two! But I barely care about them, because the Premier League is a much better league than the MLS. I love the USMNT because of local ties, but for other international matches I’ll UEFA competitions, not CONCACAF. Why watch bad soccer when I could watch much better soccer?
The same thing is going to happen to The Alliance. Sure Orlando doesn’t have an NFL team, but at this point everyone there is probably a fan of either Miami, Tampa Bay, or Atlanta. That’s going to be their priority, not the Orlando Apollos (seriously, that’s their fucking name).
Saturday night was truly hysterical. People were tweeting up a storm about how the quality of play wasn’t bad. What? Most of the country saw the San Antonio Arizona game which was 6-6 at halftime! The only way you can say the quality isn’t bad is because the last football we all saw was the dreadful Super Bowl. On Sunday, Christian Hackenberg took the field and reminded everyone that he still sucks and that the quality in this league is pretty poor!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not rooting for this league to fail. But I also couldn’t care less if it does or it doesn’t. Just don’t believe people when they tell you the league is going to be big.
They got a nice rating on Week 1 because people tune in Week 1 to see what it’s about. The same thing happened with the XFL. It’s also mid February, the deadest time of the sports calendar.
In a few weeks March Madness will be here, which is a time where we don’t miss football at all. Then baseball will start, the Masters will come around, and the weather is going to get nice.
If The Alliance was smart they would have launched in Mid-January with weeknight games. Play an eight-ish week season and wrap up just before March Madness. Fill the void in the sports calendar while the weather still sucks. Because once the weather gets nice, asking people to choose between spending time with their family or watching Christian Hackenberg and a bunch of no names shouldn’t be much of a choice.