The newest spring professional football league, the Alliance of American Football (AAF), announced it’s intentions last month to begin play in February of 2019. However, they wanted to wait on naming franchise cities and coaches.
Well, on Saturday morning, they made a splash and it involves not only the city of Orlando being named with a team, but arguably the most famous, successful and outrageous Gators personality of them all, as the head coach.
The “Head Ball Coach” is back:
It's OFFICIAL: The legendary Head Ball Coach, @SteveSpurrierUF has joined The Alliance as head coach in Orlando. All the details at https://t.co/FPPxtbeBjO #JoinTheAlliance #AllianceORL pic.twitter.com/1Q4eQRq1is
— AAF (@TheAAF) April 7, 2018
Steve Spurrier will return to his professional football coaching roots, as he was once the highly successful coach of the United States Football League’s Tampa Bay Bandits in the mid-1980’s.
Spurrier later went on to coach at Duke, leading them to the 1989 ACC title before returning to his alma matter, where he had won the Heisman Trophy, and became the most flamboyant (and annoying to opponents) personality in southern coaching. Spurrier won SEC championship six times and eventually the 1996 National Championship while in Gainesville.
Back to the AAF, their CEO and co-founder Charlie Ebersol (the son of legendary Emmy award winning TV producer Dick Ebersol) made the announcement live on CBS TV Saturday morning. He was joined by one of the league’s former professional “player consultants,” in former Steelers great WR Hines Ward, and then a short time later, Spurrier joined them on set in New York.
The AAF also released this statement from Spurrier:
“What first captured my attention was Charlie and Bill’s commitment to putting top-flight, professional football on the field and creating a true alliance between fans, players and the game. The Alliance offers a unique opportunity to get back into coaching, this time for a spring season, and work closely with hungry, talented athletes looking to begin, revive or extend their professional careers.
The fact I can do this in Orlando makes it that much sweeter. I’m fired up and ready to go.” — Steve Spurrier, Orlando Alliance head coach”
The “Bill” is Bill Polian, the former Colts GM, who when the AAF held it’s initial press conference in New York, was essentially designated as the lead football personality, without being named as commissioner.
Here’s a clip from the “CBS This Morning” Saturday show with Spurrier talking about why he wants to return to the sidelines:
What was it that drew you back into football? ?
"The new rules I really liked. Two and a half hour games, 30 seconds in between plays and the fans want to see that… In life, we all need a challenge." — @SteveSpurrierUF https://t.co/ifaKuSs0Ix pic.twitter.com/67XYgV0h8h
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) April 7, 2018
Spurrier does have recent pro football experience too, albeit a bad one. He was the failed head coach of the Washington Redskins in 2002-03. Spurrier was just 12-20 in two years in Washington before resigning.
The AAF will continue to name franchises this spring and summer, as they plan to play with eight teams in 2019.
They have an exclusive television deal with CBS to show their inaugural game next February, weekly “games of the week” on CBS Sports Network, and then it’s championship game back on CBS in April of 2019.
Orlando is no stranger to spring football having had the Renegades of the USFL that were actually coached by ESPN College Football analyst Lee Corso. And then, the one year failed experiment that was the XFL in 2001, which had former Gators coach Galen Hall coaching the “Orlando Rage” team.
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