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What is the Alliance of American Football? New football league starts in February

Steve Spurrier to coach Orlando AAF team

The Alliance of American Football is a new professional spring league set to debut next February. The league exists to both complement the NFL during the offseason while showcasing local, developing talent slated.

The AAF will kick off just one week after the Super Bowl. Games will be available to stream on a free app, on CBS and CBS Sports Network. Teams in eight different cities will play a 10-game season.

The new football league is co-founded by Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian a veteran NFL executive for decades. The pair are joined by former NFL stars Hines Ward — who will serve as an executive of player relations — and Troy Polamalu, another former Steeler and AAF's head of player relations.

"We brought in the best players and the best coaches to be at the top of the organization. We wanted to give fans not just an opportunity to see great football but to see what would happen if you brought the players and the league together," Ebersol said in a CBS interview in 2018.

For former Pittsbugh Steelers receiver Hines Ward, it's all about the well-being of the players.

"Player safety, that's top priority. I mean, that's something we want to bring to our league,"  Ward said. "Not only just help them while they're playing but also helping them when their careers are over. I mean we're — off the field we're setting up scholarships for players and also having some financial internships and really get them financial counseling."

Other AAF executives include former NFL players like Troy Polamalu, Justin Tuck and Jared Allen — as well as ESPN's Bill Polian. But this isn't the first time someone has tried starting a new football league. In 2001, Ebersol's father launched the XFL which only lasted one season. So what's different?

Alliance of American Football teams

The Alliance of American Football will have eight franchises in its inaugural season. Head coaches were signed before any players, announcing Steve Spurrier as the first coach for the Orlando franchise.

The AAF held a separate quarterback draft to allow each of the eight teams an opportunity to either protect allocated quarterbacks or pick one from another region. The quarterbacks selected in that draft were the first to be signed. 

Arizona Hotshots

Atlanta Legends

Birmingham Iron

  • Coach: Tim Lewis
  • Notable players: QB Blake Sims, RB Trent Richardson, CB JaCorey Shepherd
  • Twitter: @aafiron

Memphis Express

  • Coach: Mike Singletary
  • Notable players: QB Christian Hackenberg, QB Zach Mettenberger, RB Zac Stacy, WR Chris Givens
  • Web: Memphis Express
  • Twitter: @aafexpress

Orlando Apollos

  • Coach: Steve Spurrier
  • Notable players: QB Garrett Gilbert, QB Stephen Morris, DB Will Hill
  • Web: Orlando Apollos
  • Twitter: @aafapollos

Salt Lake Stallions

San Antonio Commanders

San Diego Fleet

AAF team uniforms

The AAF revealed all eight teams' uniforms in November. According to an AAF tweet, the uniform choices were "inspired by the cities they represent."

When does the AAF start?

The first week of the 10-week Alliance of American Football season starts Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. Two games each will be played on Saturday and Sunday of the AAF season through the first nine weeks. Week 10 will feature a Friday matchup in addition to the Saturday and Sunday lineup.