The Evolution Of The Apollos And The AAF

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*Opinion Editorial: Bucs Reports latest “From The Stands” article

The Start Of Something New

It is now five games into the inaugural AAF season, and one thing has become abundantly clear. Steve Spurrier and the Orlando Apollos are on a whole different level.

Back in August of last year while watching one of the nightly sports shows I heard a mention of a new football league. One that would start in 2019. I was curious, but didn’t give it much thought initially.

Then a few months later I find out that this new league will kick off a week after the Super Bowl, and that there would be a team in Orlando. My interest started to build. Once news came out that the “Ol’ Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier would be coaching the Orlando team, I thought, “Ok, now I need to really look into this more.”

Still I had reservations on whether or not the league would work. As I studied up a bit, I found out Bill Polian was involved. And that the league wouldn’t be competing with the NFL, but would in fact be working to give players a chance to either get back into it. Or get their first chance to do so.

In my opinion, that’s a much better approach. I was then 80% hooked. What would the quality of play, and what’s this no kickoff rule going to be like?

The AAF Hits The Ground Running

Along comes opening night, what I witnessed was great. This was football the way I remember it. No bubble wrapping of the quarterbacks and no over officiating. On top of that, and quite possibly one of the coolest parts, the ability to be in the replay booth.

Where the viewers are able to listen to the thought process by the official during the review. No more wondering “what was he thinking” or “how did they come to that conclusion”. You literally get to watch and hear them review the play live in real time.

Steve Spurrier came out putting the fun in the fun’n’gun offense. The defense was playing lights out, and I saw football I actually enjoyed like I haven’t in years. Through the first few games it was clear that the other teams in the league were adjusting to not having film on the opposing teams, and were adjusting slowly to that. Yet adjusting they were. Each week those teams were improving, and it was making the viewing better each week.

The Lone Undefeated Team

By the end of week 4 there was only one unbeaten team left standing. Now one undefeated team was about to face off against the team who had just lost their first game the previous week.

Orlando vs Birmingham looked to be the biggest game of this first season, and the odds were much closer than either team had faced since week one. It ended in another dominating performance by Orlando and the “Ol’ ball coach”, 31-14.

The AAF is halfway through the season, and there have been challengers. No team though seems to have the ability to dethrone the Apollos at this stage. So it’s time to speculate a bit here. Can anyone actually stop them? Will this inaugural AAF season not only produce some really exciting football, but will it also give us an undefeated champion in the Apollos? It’s not likely. These teams are all adapting as they get more tape on each other. At the midway point in this season though, it sure seems like the Apollos could be unstoppable.

However it turns out, people will be glued to the games each week. The AAF has hooked me and other like myself 100%.

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Written by: Johnny Dean

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