Wednesday, April 3, 2019

2019 Alliance of American Football Power Rankings (Week Eight)

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:
“Can you feel the FOLD(™) yet?”

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 (7-1-0)
Season Point Differential: +100

It was a much, much closer contest than it should’ve been, but the Apollos nonetheless managed to upend Memphis 34-31 over the weekend. The Alliance’s top passer Garrett “Double G” Gilbert went 22 for 40 in the victory, ultimately collecting 310 yards and going two-for-two on the touchdowns-to-interceptions tossed ratio. Meanwhile, receiver Charles Johnson continues to impress, collecting 135 yards and one end zone visit on eight catches, while both De’Veon Smith and D’Ernest Johnson pounded in the rock for scores, although neither rusher eclipsed more than 27 yards on the ground at the final whistle.

02. Arizona Hotshots (5-3-0)
Season Point Differential: +042

The Hotshots blew out the Commanders 23-6 over the weekend, with John Wolford going 17 for 23 for 216 yards and one TD pass. Rashad Ross led Arizona’s receivers with 78 yards and one TD haul on four catches, while Tim “not that Tim Cook” Cook concluded the outing with 30 yards on three carries … and with them, two touchdowns. Of course, Arizona’s defense deserves some major props for holding San Antonio at bay all game-long, considering the Commanders finished the outing with a mere 132 yards in the air.

03. Birmingham Iron (5-3-0)
Season Point Differential: +032

In the Iron’s 17-9 win over Atlanta, Luis Perez went 10 for 24 for 65 yards and no touchdown passes, with running back Keith Price managed to collect almost half as many yards on a mere two completions. Thankfully for Birmingham’s anemic passing game, their run game was steady enough to bail them out; Trent Richardson led the Iron running back committee with 83 yards and one end zone visit on 18 touches.

04. San Antonio Commanders (5-3-0)
Season Point Differential: +004

The Commanders couldn’t muster a single touchdown in their demoralizing 23-6 loss to the Hotshots — which is all the more perplexing, considering the two teams posted nearly congruent total offensive numbers (and the Commandeers actually outyarded the ‘Shots by about 80 yards on the ground.) Alas, neither Logan Woodside (four for nine, for 32 yards and one INT) or Marquise Williams (17 for 23, 130 yards, no TDs or INTs) could get much rolling for the S.A. ‘O, although David Cobb — with 59 yards on nine carries — had a pretty good day running the rock, statistically-speaking.

05. San Diego Fleet (3-5)
Season Point Differential: -003

You know, there’s not a whole lot you can say about losing a football game by the score of 8-3, except, perhaps “hot fuck on a Friday night, does your offense suck.” Needless to say, in San Diego’s weekend loss to Salt Lake, starting QB Mike Bercovici looked pretty ho-hum, wrapping up the contests 22 for 47 for 210 yards, no TD passes and two costly interceptions. Meanwhile, the Fleet could only accumulate 42 yards on the ground, relying upon back Bishop Sankey for all eleven of the team’s carries on the day. But hey, at least punter Sam Irwin-Hill got plenty of opportunities to pad his stats — he had a net yardage final tally of 287, topping out at 53 yards on one booter. And yes, you KNOW a game was a chore to sit through if I’m having to trot out fuckin’ PUNTING stats here.

06. Salt Lake Stallions (3-5-0)
Season Point Differential: -008

Holy shit, if you want to make detainees squeal, force ‘em to watch this weekend’s horrid Stallions/Fleet contest. Although Salt Lake won the game, it certainly wasn’t pretty — as evident by that agonizing to gawp at 8-3 final score. Indeed, even in the “winning” performance Josh Woodrum underwhelmed, going 21 for 35 for 155 yards, two interceptions and no touchdown passes. Running the ball, however, the Stallions looked considerably better, as Terron Ward (47 yards, 18 carries) and Joel Bouagnon (45 yards, 15 carries, one TD) put in pretty respectable showings. Still, how anybody could find a way to make a NINE-minute long “highlights” package from the game is simply beyond me, folks.

07. Memphis Express (2-6-0)
Season Point Differential: -042

Johnny Manziel (two for three passing for 13 yards) was a non-factor in the Express’ 34-31 loss to Orlando. Brandon Silvers went 30 for 49 for 269 yards and a one-to-one TD-to-INT split, with top receiver Gerrard Sheppard concluding the contest with 98 yards on nine catches. Rusher Terrence Magee led Memphis on the ground, collecting 39 yards and one score on nine carries, while defender James Charles, II registered four deflected passes and six solo tackles.

08. Atlanta Legends (2-6-0)
Season Point Differential: -125

You know what the funny thing is about the Legends? Despite easily being the worst team in the Alliance in terms of point-differential, statistically-speaking Atlanta still possesses the best defense in the AAF. Of course, with a piss-poor offense, it’s not really a surprise that Atlanta keeps dropping games like Sunday’s 17-9 loss to Birmingham, which saw quarterbacks Matt Simms and Aaron Murray combine for 235 yards, two interceptions and no touchdown throws on 19 passes. At least defenders like Jeff Luc played pretty well for the legendarily bad Legends, wrapping up the game with eight solo tackles, three QB hits and one forced fumble.


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