Thursday, March 21, 2019

2019 Alliance of American Football Power Rankings (Week Six)

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:
“Nobody’s perfect … no, statistically speaking, no one in the league is anymore”

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!

01. Orlando Apollos (5-1-0)
Season Point Differential: +067

In what may be the game of the year thus far for the AAF — and, by proxy, the greatest game to date in league history — the formerly unvarnished Apollos ended up getting bested by the Hotshots of Arizona in a thrilling 22-17 loss that saw Orlando almost (but eventually fall short) complete the mad comeback attempt. Stats-wise, Garrett “Double G” Gilbert had a pretty solid showing, going 23 for 48 for 268 yards, two touchdown passes and one interception. Meanwhile, top receiver Jalin Marshall wrapped up the contest with 98 yards and one TD on six receptions, while D’Ernest Johnson led the Apollos running the ball, concluding the losing effort with 43 yards on nine carries.

02. Birmingham Iron (4-2-0)
Season Point Differential: +030

It might have been a nail biter, but the Iron nonetheless managed to outlast the Fleet over the weekend in an intense 32-29 victory. Luis Perez had a career day lobbing the rock, racking up 359 yards and three touchdown passes on 27 completions. Receiver L’Damian Washington (a former Winnipeg Blue Bomber, in case you were wondering) had a stellar 128 yards and TWO touchdown hauls on just four receptions, while Trent Richardson kept the run game steady with 46 yards and one saunter into the end zone on 15 carries.

03. San Diego Fleet (3-3-0)
Season Point Differential: +019

The Fleet gave it some effort, but they nonetheless couldn’t stop the Iron’s late surge over the weekend, as San Diego succumbed to Birmingham 32-29. Mike Bercovici went 17 for 34 in the losing affair, ultimately collecting 311 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions on the day. Receiver Dontez Ford had an absolutely amazing day, breaking lose for 182 yards on just THREE catches, including a thunderous 72-yard pick up … which would’ve been the most impressive feat of the game, if not for L’Damian Washington’s “you gotta YouTube this shit” 83-yard touchdown haul earlier in the matchup.

04. San Antonio Commanders (4-2-0)
Season Point Differential: +017

Now, I’m not gonna’ say the Commanders had a cakewalk in their 37-6 beatdown of the Legends, but then again, considering San Antonio had a 26-6 lead heading into halftime, I’ll let you come to your own assumptions. Logan Woodside wrapped up the one-sided drubbing 17 for 23 for 164 yards and two touchdown passes, with top receiver Cam Clear collecting 45 yards on five catches. Meanwhile, running back Kenneth Farrow II had a decent showing, notching 35 yards and one end zone visitation on nine carries. Oh, and late in the fourth quarter, probable AAF Defensive Player of the Year Derron Smith intercepted Aaron Murray for an 87-yard pick six … and he made it look preposterously easy, to boot.

05. Arizona Hotshots (3-3-0)
Season Point Differential: +008

In the biggest upset of the year (and, I guess, AAF history, by default), the Hotshots managed to beat the formerly perfect Orlando Apollos 22-17 over the weekend. Arizona quarterback John Wolford went 16 for 27 passing, ultimately recording 162 yards and one touchdown throw, with receiver Richard Mullaney (yep, he of Alabama fame) leading the pack with 73 yards on six catches. Meanwhile, the ‘Shots outgunned Orlando on the ground 179 yards to 111, with Tim “Not That Tim Cook” Cook and Jhurell Pressley combining for 128 yards on 24 carries.

06. Salt Lake Stallions (2-4-0)
Season Point Differential: -009

The Stallions had few difficulties surmounting the Express, as Salt Lake prevailed rather easily over Memphis 22-9. Josh Woodrum had a pretty good showing, going 24 for 27 for 243 yards, two touchdown passes and one INT, while Nick Truesdell led the Stallions in receiving with 67 yards and one end zone appearance on five catches. Meanwhile, Joel Bouagnon kept the run game a-rollin’, finishing the outing with 60 yards (but no TDs) on 19 carries. Also, it’s pretty goddamn funny to realize there’s a defender on the Stallions who almost shares his name with that dude from Sister Wives … I mean, considering it is Mormon Country we’re talking about here, can we really chalk it up as mere coincidence?

07. Memphis Express (1-5-0)
Season Point Differential: -045

Another week, another loss for the MEME-phis Express. In their latest shellacking, this one a 22-9 wompin’ from Salt Lake, new starting QB Brandon Silvers went 23 for 37 for 242 yards, one TD pass an no interceptions … which, considering how poorly the OTHER Express quarterbacks have this season, is actually downright phenomenal. Alas, you really can’t say two much about Memphis’ run game (or lack thereof), as top rusher Zac Stacy could only collect 31 yards on 11 carries. Still, the Express might have something resembling a silver lining in the form of Reece Horn; the former Titan finished the game with 129 yards on eight receptions.

08. Atlanta Legends (2-4-0)
Season Point Differential: -087

I’m not gonna’ lie to you people — it’s really, really hard to find a silver lining in Atlanta’s 37-6 loss to San Antonio. Aaron Murray (30 for 41, 215 yards, one touchdown pass) played so poorly that after his THIRD interception of the game, he got benched in favor of Peter Pujals, a Minnesota Vikings castoff who LITERALLY looks like a school shooter. And if you’re looking for anything noteworthy out of the receivers and running back corps, forget about it — Keith Towbridge led the Legends with just 42 yards receiving, while Brandon Radcliff led Atlanta with a mere 24 yards carrying the rock. And if that wasn’t bad enough? Atlanta combined for an amazing SEVEN turnovers in the game; in addition to Murray’s three INTs, the offensive also somehow managed to fumble the ball away FOUR times. Shit, one more loss like this, and they may have to relegate the team to Special Olympics play.


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