Football after football next February with Alliance Birmingham


There will be more football in Alabama next year when games in the Alliance of American Football begin. Alliance Birmingham is one of new league’s eight teams who will start play the week after the Super Bowl.

Alabama is always ready for more football. A new spring, professional league will have eight teams in the 2019 season. The teams are in Atlanta, Orlando, Memphis, San Antonio, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego and Birmingham. The league owns all the teams and the Birmingham name is Alliance Birmingham.

Birmingham has had several past professional football teams. In the mid-1970’s Birmingham was part of the World Football league. The Birmingham Stallions played three seasons in the USFL in the mid-1980’s.  The World League of American Football included two seasons of the Birmingham Fire in the 1990’s. The CFL and the ill-fated XFL each had teams in Birmingham for one season. Past failures of Birmingham teams were more often due to lack of league stability than failure of the Birmingham market.

In February 2019, a new off-season league will bring professional football back to Legion Field. The plan is two seasons in the old stadium on Graymont Ave., followed by a move to the new BJCC Stadium once it opens.

List of head coaches is impressive

The new league has a TV deal with CBS. The league will be operated by seasoned NFL and media people. The list of head coaches is impressive. Steve Spurrier will coach the Orlando team. Other former name, head coaches are Dennis Erickson, Brad Childress, Rick Neuheisel, Mike Singletary, Mike Martz and Mike Riley. The Alliance Birmingham head coach, Tim Lewis, is less well known. He was a big-time NFL player whose career was cut short by injury. He has coached at the collegiate level and has spent 20 years coaching in the NFL.

Technically it is a new spring league but the opening weekend on February 9, 2019 will be close to peak winter in Alabama. The spring season will include 10 regular season games and a four-team playoff in late April.

New league has some new rules

The league rosters will be 50 players, some of whom will be chosen by territorial drafts. Rules will be different with no kickoffs or PAT’s. Teams are required to go for two, after touchdowns. There will be no onside kicks. If a team chooses an attempt to retain possession after a score, it will face a one-down requirement to gain 10 yards from its own 35-yard line.

Based on the group of experienced executives, solid financial backing and a TV deal, the new league has a chance. Before discarding the idea because of past failures in Birmingham, take a look at the league video.

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It will be interesting to see what former Alabama and Auburn players will be added to the Alliance Birmingham roster. Steve Spurrier has reached out to Tim Tebow, asking the former Florida star to join him in Orlando.