Tuesday, March 26, 2019

2019 Alliance of American Football Power Rankings (Week Seven)

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:
“Now with 100 percent more Manziel!”

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 (6-1-0)
Season Point Differential: +097

The Apollos made short work of the Legends over the weekend, humiliating Atlanta 36-6 in a total knee-slapper. “Double G” Garrett Gilbert wrapped up the facile win with 217 yards and one TD pass on 19 completions, while running back De’Veon Smith collected a stellar THREE rushing touchdowns (and with ‘em, 40 yards) on 13 carries. Orlando ultimately out-yarded Atlanta 362 to 255 in the one-sided drubbing, besting the hardly-legendary Legends by at least a 40-point differential both running and passing the ball.

02. Arizona Hotshots (4-3-0)
Season Point Differential: +025

The Hotshots put a hurtin’ on San Diego over the weekend, wrecking the Fleet by a lopsided final score of 32-15. John Wolford went 15 for 19 in the winning outing, ultimately concluding the contest with 212 yards, two TD passes and one interception. Rashad Ross led Arizona’s receiving corps with 53 yards on three catches, while running back Jhurell Pressley lead the Hotshots rushers with 64 yards on 15 carries.

03. Birmingham Iron (4-3-0)
Season Point Differential: +024

Birmingham dropped a tough ‘un to Memphis over the weekend, losing 31-25 to the Express. Luis Perez went 16 for 37 for 235 yards and two touchdown passes, as Amba Etta-Tawo led Memphis’s receiving corps with 71 yards on three catches. Meanwhile, Trent Richardson led the team running the ball, completing the contest with 56 yards, and one end zone visit, on 16 carries.

04. San Antonio Commanders (5-2-0)
Season Point Differential: +021

The Commanders just squeaked by the Stallions via a less-than-commanding 19-15 final score. Logan Woodside went 13 for 19 for 164 yards in the victory — with a one-to-one TD-to-INT ratio — while running back Marquise Williams lobbed one touchdown pass of his own, ultimately collecting 49 aerial yards on two completions. Unable to run the ball effectively (indeed, the team’s top rusher for the day, Trey Williams, had just 19 yards of forward movement), San Antonio relied on steady production from receiver Evan Rodriguez, who wrapped up the W with 71 yards on three catches.

05. San Diego Fleet (3-4)
Season Point Differential: +002

San Diego came up short against Arizona over the weekend, falling 32-15 against the Hotshots in a fairly uncompetitive matchup. Despite the losing outcome, Fleet QB Mike Bercovici nonetheless put up some solid numbers, concluding the contest with 310 yards and one TD pass on 22 completes (and oh yeah, two interceptions, too, but let’s cut him some slack just this one time, why don’t we?) Also posting some decent stats was receiver Nelson Spruce, who collected 146 yards on 12 receptions; leading San Diego’s running back corps was Bishop Sankey, who finished the game with 54 yards, but not end zone visits, on 12 carries.

06. Salt Lake Stallions (2-5-0)
Season Point Differential: -013

The Stallions put up a good fight, but they nonetheless succumbed to the Commanders over the weekend in a narrow 19-15 loss. Quarterback Josh Woodrum went 22 for 35 for 229 yards and a one-to-one TD-to-INT ratio in the loss, with receiver Nick Truesdell collecting 74 yards (albeit, no touchdowns) on four catches.) Joel Bouagnon led Salt Lake’s rushers with 35 yards on nine carries, while special teams, uh, specialist Taylor Bertolet went three for four on field goals, including one from 53 yards out.

07. Memphis Express (2-5-0)
Season Point Differential: -039

If you didn’t actually watch the game, you might think that Johnny Manziel had something to do with Memphis’ 31-25 upset win over the Iron. Alas, while Manziel didn’t really do anything to screw up the team’s chances of victory — he went three for five for 48 passing yards — the real hero of the day for the Express was starter Brandon Silvers, who went 24 for 35 for 266 yards and two touchdown passes, one of which landed in the loving arms of top receiver Reece Horn, who finished the contest with 113 yards on seven catches. Manziel, however, does walk away from the victory with at least one statistical accolade, though; with 20 yards on two carries, he was EASILY Memphis’ most productive rusher for the game.

08. Atlanta Legends (2-5-0)
Season Point Differential: -117

There’s not a whole lot of things you can say about Atlanta’s horrific 36-6 loss to the Apollos over the weekend, and pretty much the only solace the Legends can take away from the demoralizing defeat is that at least nobody died on the field. Aaron Murray went 16 for 22 for 135 yards and a one TD/two INT split, while backup Matt Simms mustered 60 yards on five completions. Running the ball, Tarean Folston had 37 yards on eight carries, while receiver Malachi Jones led the Legends with 53 yards (and one end zone visit) on six catches.


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