The AAF kicked off its inaugural season with four games and one huge hit over the weekend.Ronald Cortes/AAF/Getty Images
- The first weekend of the Alliance of American Football was a solid success.
- The biggest highlight of the weekend was a huge quarterback hit from San Antonio Commanders linebacker Shaan Washington.
- It was the type of sack that would be illegal in the NFL.
The Alliance of American Football had a stellar inaugural weekend.
On Saturday, the debut game broadcast on CBS reportedly posted better ratings than the Rockets-Thunder game it was up against on ABC.
Fans might not have known what to expect from the secondary league, but through four games the AAF didn’t embarrass itself and even provided some pretty good football for those who were craving some post-Super Bowl football.
The biggest play of the weekend came from San Antonio Commanders linebacker Shaan Washington, who lit up San Diego Fleet quarterback Mike Bercovici with a huge sack in the first quarter of one of the debut games.
It’s the type of hit that football fans haven’t seen allowed in some time, given the protection that is now provided to quarterbacks in the NFL.
Some astute Twitter observers were quick to point out the apparent differences between the leagues with how defenses can pursue opposing quarterbacks.
Overall, fans seemed thrilled with the play.
Really enjoyed the debut of the AAF. I like the pace of play with the shorter play clock, these players are hungry for a shot or another shot at NFL, some new rules are intriguing, and it’s nice to see good hard hits not flagged. Look forward to more games.
— Mike Golic (@espngolic)
February 10, 2019
The original iteration of the XFL branded itself as a more hard-hitting, frantic, and GRITTY football in an attempt to out-macho the NFL, but failed after just one season.
In contrast, the AAF didn’t lean into big hits as a selling point and is not billing itself as a competitor with the NFL, but rather a supplement, even partnering with the NFL Network for broadcasts.
Still, with quarterback hits not yet officiated out of existence in the AAF, plays like Washington’s might be an unexpected attraction for the league.
With just one week in the books, it’s still far too early to tell whether or not the AAF will wind up a success, but the league certainly off to a solid start.