The Alliance of American Football (AAF) has been well-received by football fans in its first few weeks. However, the Alliance may need a little help getting over the edge. After failing to make payroll in week one and financial concerns building up, the league was sold to Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon, who has put in $250 million into the league. Ratings have been solid and the play on the field has been more than satisfactory, but what could help put this league over the top? Two words: Big. Names. After failing to land quarterbacks Tim Tebow and Colin Kaepernick, there are still some big-name free agents out there that could benefit from playing in the AAF as well as the Alliance benefitting from these players’ services. The first name I would suggest the Alliance reach out to bring in would be former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. That’s right, Johnny football. He was just released by the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL after violating the terms of his deal with the team. Manziel is only 26 years old, so there is plenty of time for him to resurrect his football career. Coming back to the states to play in the Alliance of American Football could be the perfect opportunity for Manziel, and Manziel joining the AAF would create headlines and media coverage instantly. Manziel could settle in very nicely with the Memphis Express. The Express is struggling with quarterback issues, benching former second-round NFL draft pick Christian Hackenberg for former NFL quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The Memphis Express could put themselves in a much better position if they take the chance on becoming “The Johnny Football Express” — a bandwagon that fans would punch their tickets for.
Another big name that the AAF could benefit from would be former SEC defensive player of the year – Michael Sam. Michael Sam has recently stepped away from the game of football due to mental health reasons but playing in the AAF could be therapeutic for this pass rusher. The Atlanta Legends have surrendered the most points of any team in the league, they should be more than welcoming to services of the former Missouri Tiger. Sam carries a lot of weight with his name and stands for much more than the number on his jersey. Being the first football player to publicly announce his homosexuality, Sam caught a raw deal with the NFL. The AAF has the chance to right the wrongs of the NFL just the same as they tried with Kaepernick. Sam is only 29 years old and still has a lot left in the tank. Sam needs the AAF just the same as the AAF needs Michael Sam.
A third name that I see fitting in well with the AAF is former Baylor playmaker Corey Coleman. Coleman has been somewhat of a journeyman in the NFL, playing on four different teams over the past two years. Coleman won the Biletnikoff award in 2015 as the nation’s best receiver. Coleman is a dynamic playmaker who is a home-run threat every time he touches the football. The AAF is a great stage for him to showcase his talents and perhaps resurrect his NFL career someday. For now, the pitiful 10 points per game that the Atlanta Legends are currently averaging could turn around with the addition of the explosive Coleman.
The AAF is a great land of opportunity that will see many success stories go on (if the funding allows it to continue). These three athletes can help be many of the talents that help put the AAF over the edge of success. America needs football year-round, baseball may be our past-time but football is our addiction. Cheers to the AAF! We are all rooting for you and your players.