Tuesday, March 12, 2019

2019 Alliance of American Football Power Rankings (Week Five)

A comprehensive recap of the inaugural (and let’s face it, probably only) AAF season — an especially needed service, considering the league is too ghetto to post box scores on its own website.


By: Jimbo X

This Week’s Episode:
“Look, just because our games are being carried on a Bleacher Report app stream DOESN’T mean we’re bush league

Boy, it sure was a long one-week wait in between the Super Bowl and the first week of Alliance of American Football regular season play, wasn’t it?

For those of you not in the know, the Alliance of American Football — or, as the kids on the street call it, the AAF — is a D-league pro football organization created by Charlie Ebersol as a gargantuan tax write-off simply to spite Vince McMahon for restarting the XFL. Oddly enough, the AAF seems rather chummy with the real 800-pound gorilla of the pro football arena (err, stadium?) to the point that they’re actually showing a couple of AAF games on the NFL Network. Shit, they’re actually showing these games LIVE on prime-time CBS television, which, if nothing else, at least makes ‘em a classier and ritzier operation than the UFL.

The AAF has its differences from the mainline NFL product. For one, there are not PAT kicks, so everybody has to go for a 2-point try after each touchdown. Also, there’s no kickoffs, because apparently, football players are pussies now. And there’s also some stuff about referee oversight — i.e., the cameras actually follow the officials into the decision room, so you can hear for yourselves how they fuck up calls — which, if nothing else, should be applauded for trying to establish the illusion of transparency.

Whether or not the AAF makes it to a second season — or even completes one full one, as planned — remains an unknown, but we here at TIIIA are nonetheless committed to chronicling the minor-league pro football experiment live as it happens. And trust me, you’re going to want an armchair historian like me taking note of this stuff, because the AAF itself is so damn cheap that they don’t even publish the box scores from their own games on their own freaking website.

That means we will be here for the next 10 weeks, giving you the statistical skinny on each and every AAF game that’s played, leading us all the way up to the playoffs and eventual championship game, which — of nothing else — serves as a nice bridge in-between the end of the NFL season and the start of the hockey playoffs. And hey, even if the AAF turns out to be one big, giant colossal cluster-turd of a failed football league, at least at gave us SOMETHING to talk about in the sports world besides, ugh, college basketball. And for that reason alone, we ought to be thankful the AAF … if but for the year of our Lord 2019 … at least tried to exist.

And with that out of the way, who’s ready to explore THIS WEEK’S AAF Power Rankings countdown? Hey now — don’t everybody raise their hands at once here!

#001 Orlando Apollos (5-0-0)
Season Point Differential: +072

The clash between the Apollos and the Iron was supposed to be a meeting of — statistically-speaking — the two best teams in the Alliance. Alas, the much-ballyhooed contest ended up a total larf, with Orlando shellacking Birmingham by a 17 point margin of victory. Probable Alliance MVP Double G Garrett Gilbert went 23 for 35 for 286 yards and two TD passes on the day, with former Vikes’ receiver Charles Johnson leading all wideouts with 83 yards and one touchdown saunter on six catches. Meanwhile, running back De’Veon Smith continued to impress, finishing the fairly one-sided drubbing with 119 yards on 14 carries.

#002 Birmingham Iron (3-2-0)
Season Point Differential: +027

The Iron got smelted by the Apollos over the weekend, as Birmingham got clobbered 31-14 in a largely uncompetitive squash match of a football game. The Iron’s starting QB Luis Perez left the game early, managing to collect a mere four yards on three passes … none of which produced any touchdowns, but one of which that did result in an easy pick six score for Orlando cornerback Keith Reaser, who took the pigskin 40 yards to the house. Backup quarterback Keith Price, however, played significantly better, going 18 for 29 for 234 yards, one TD pass and no interceptions — does this mean we’ve got ourselves a quarterback controversy emerging in Alabama?

#003 San Diego Fleet (3-2-0)
Season Point Differential: +022

San Diego outlasted Salt Lake 27-25 over the weekend, in a game that saw Fleet QB Mike Bercovici go 22 for 43 for 304 yards and a one-to-one TD-to-INT split. Top San Diego receivers Dontez Ford and Marcus Baugh combined for 159 yards on just five receptions (albeit, with no end zone visitations), but the Fleet running game completely sputtered out — the finished the game with a mere 31 rushing yards on the day, with Terrell Watson nominally leading the pack with 14 yards on five carries.

#004 Arizona Hotshots (2-3-0)
Season Point Differential: +003

The Hotshots, down 26-0 at the end of the second quarter, ALMOST managed to complete the mad comeback against San Antonio over the weekend. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough gas in the tank to finish the job, succumbing 29-25 to Arizona in a heartbreaker. Quarterback John Wolford had an iffy day — he went 19 for 33 for 246 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions — while receiver Rashad Ross wrapped up the game with 106 yards and one TD on five catches. And if you’re wondering, Arizona’s lone rushing touchdown came from Tim “Not That Tim Cook” Cook, who wrapped up the outing with 33 yards and a solo end zone saunter on 12 carries.

#005 San Antonio Commanders (3-2-0)
Season Point Differential: -014

Well, the Commanders prevailed 29-25 over Arizona, but it was certainly a wacky one. San Antonio entered the third quarter with 26-0 lead, only for their defense to allow Arizona to outscore ‘em 25-3 in the second half — indeed, if it wasn’t for kicker Nick Rose’s 21-yard field goal around the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter, there’s a good chance the Hotshots could’ve completed the improbable come-from-behind win. Alas, the Commanders staved off the late surge, as Logan Woodside finished the game 21 for 27 for 290 yards and two-to-one TD-to-INT split; meanwhile, top receiver Mekale McKay ended the game with 91 yards, plus a touchdown catch, on five receptions.

#006 Salt Lake Stallions (1-4-0)
Season Point Differential: -022

Quarterback Josh Woodrum definitely had a day to forget in the Stallions’ 27-25 loss to the Fleet, going 31 for 48 for 380 yards, one touchdown and a miserable three interceptions, including a 22-yard pick-six lobbed into the loving arms of San Diego defender Kameron Kelly. Still, receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El had a pretty good fantasy day, racking up 130 yards on eight catches, and running back Joel Bouagnon’s legs earned their paychecks, having amassed 36 yards — and more importantly, two touchdown runs — on 11 carries.

#007 Memphis Express (1-4-0)
Season Point Differential : -032

Just one week after looking like a stud QB, former Titan Zach Mettenberger turned in a less than awe-inspiring performance in this weekend’s 23-20 loss to Atlanta. Mettenberger concluded the outing nine for 17 for 181 yards, no touchdown passes and one interception, … although we must admit, his 56-yard pass to Cardinals’ castoff Sherman Badie was pretty badass. If there’s a silver lining for Memphis in the loss, however, it’s the solid play of running back Zac Stacy; the St. Louis Rams/New York Jets’ cut finished the losing affair with two touchdowns and 41 yards on 13 carries.

#008 Atlanta Legends (2-3-0)
Season Point Differential: -056

Don’t look now, but after starting the season 0-3, the Legends have quickly amassed back-t0-back victories in the AAF, with their latest a narrow 23-20 win over Memphis. Aaron Murray went 27 for 43 in the winning outing, collecting 306 yards and one TD pass in the process. Legends’ receivers Seantavius Jones, Bug Howard and Keith Towbridge each had at least 50 receiving yards on the day, while former Notre Dame running back Tarean Folston made himself famous with an impressive 83 yards (and one rushing TD) on 11 carries. And give kicker Younghoe Koo some dap — the hilariously named special teamster went three for three on field goals, his longest being a facile chip shot from 38 yards out.

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