To be the best you need to beat the best. The Arizona Hotshots and HC Rick Neuheisel may have come out on top of Steve Spurrier and the Apollos this past Saturday night at 22-17, but they still have a long way to go to claim the top AAF spot currently held by the Apollos.
Make no mistake about it. Arizona came into O-town this past weekend armed with a game plan to give Garrett Gilbert and company fits. By taking Apollos’ receivers off their routes and initially neutralizing Orlando’s running game, the Hotshots had the Apollos on the ropes most of the night. Advantage: Hotshots.
While the Apollos hold the best record in the AAF at 5-1 (3-0), teams like the Birmingham Iron, another eastern conference team at 3-2 (2-1), western conference teams San Antonio Commanders at 4-2 (2-1) and San Diego Fleet at 3-2 (2-1) are showing they have a place in the conversation of AAF contenders.
Orlando should get back on track this week with a second game against the Atlanta Legends, a team they bested handily in week one 40-6. Birmingham will play a 1-5 Memphis Express, while San Antonio will host the 2-4 Salt Lake Stallions. But the matchup to watch this weekend might be the San Diego Fleet at the Arizona Hotshots. This game could go a long way in determining who is the best in the west.
Orlando has already shown that they are the beasts of the east, beating the Memphis Express in week 3.
Let’s hand it to the geniuses behind the AAF. Not only do they have some great innovations, tight scheduling, and a solid foundation, but they also have something their bigger sibling, the NFL, has, and that is parity. The next couple of weeks should get very interesting as the playoff picture starts to come into focus. With a little Spurrier magic, they will still be chasing the Apollos.