There's a little bit of the Premier League circa 2014 in the Alliance of American Football.
In the World Cup that year, the U.S. Men's National Team made it to the Round of 16 before eventually falling to Belgium 2-1. NBC Sports Network was also doing a bang-up job with its Premier League coverage around that time. American interest in soccer was suddenly higher, with the momentum carrying over from the World Cup, and so a lot of people went through the process of adopting a Premier League club for fun.
Similarly, many people tuning into the AAF for the first time this past weekend began adopting teams. Certainly one way to do this is byfor names that stand out. Because AAF teams "draft" (i.e. allocate talent) regionally in a way similar to what the old USFL did, fans of Alabama or Auburn may notice a lot of players on the Birmingham Iron's roster. If your favorite college team is Texas, Texas A&M or just about any school in Big 12 country, the San Antonio Commanders are probably for you.
(The AAF continued this weekend, and.)
But you don't have to pick a team solely based on that factor. There are other reasons to root for any one of the AAF teams. Below is your official adoption guide for the 2019 season with factoids to help you latch on to a team of your choice. Of course, this guide is just that -- a guide. The beauty in adopting an AAF team is that there are no bad reasons, only personal ones.
Why you should adopt the Arizona Hotshots
Coach Rick Neuheisel, like you, enjoys partaking in betting pools for March Madness. While that might have landed him in hot water with the NCAA when he was the coach at the University of Washington, that makes him an everyman for us normal people. Plus, he's a fun dude who likes to play his guitar and sing on television. He is a treasure and must be protected. Furthermore, the Hotshots employ one of three female coaches in the AAF -- wide receivers assistant Jennifer King -- and pump all kinds of artificial sounds into their stadium during games, including a chainsaw on third downs. And if you like hearing "SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS" a million times during a game, Arizona is for you.
Why you should adopt the Atlanta Legends
Maybe being a Falcons fan is too heartbreaking? Then again, the Legends did drop their first game 40-6. However, all six points were scored by the legendary Younghoe Koo, who was the first player to score in an AAF game. Koo was born in South Korea and ended up as a Lou Groza finalist for Georgia Southern. Plus, the Legends employ another female coach in the Alliance, Jenn Welter, a bona fide PhD who previously coached with the Arizona Cardinals under Bruce Arians and was a former football player herself.
Why you should adopt the Birmingham Iron
You have to be careful with Week 1 impressions, but I get the sneaking suspicion that almost every Iron game this season is going to play out like Sunday's 26-0 win over Memphis. Maybe not the score so much as how the Iron got the win in the first place: with defense and outstanding punting. The Iron are probably going to cause death by slow cooking, if that's your thing. Their all-black home unis make them look like every antagonistic team from every football movie, ever. And consider rooting for quarterback Luis Perez, who almost became a professional bowler and began learning how to play quarterback via YouTube. Seriously.
Why you should adopt the Memphis Express
It's awfully hard to come up with some reasons after Sunday's goose egg, but here it goes: Coach Mike Singletary once dropped his pants during halftime of a game when he was coaching the 49ers and punter Brad Wing was called -- unjustly, I might add -- for taunting in college at LSU after scoring a touchdown on a fake punt. The Express, if nothing else, have an eclectic group of characters.
Why you should adopt the Orlando Apollos
It starts with coach Steve Spurrier. He's the most shameless, aggressive play-caller not only in the Alliance, but that college football has ever seen. He views football through a lens that's not too dissimilar from how fans view it -- which is to say, it's fun for him, and he doesn't take it too seriously (at least not by coaching standards). The Apollos should be one of the most entertaining, offensive-minded teams this year, and a sleek color combination and logo don't hurt, either. Plus, they play in UCF's stadium, home of the 2017-18 college football national champions*.
Why you should adopt the Salt Lake City Stallions
I realize that uniform taste is both subjective and perhaps an odd way to pick a favorite team, but if you're asking me, the Stallions have the. They also have a roster made up of a lot of Utah and BYU players. If you follow college football, you know that is a grossly underrated rivalry. Forcing two sides of the "Holy War" to come together for a common goal is some kind of balancing act.
Why you should adopt the San Antonio Commanders
San Antonio has been a been on a never-ending run to grab and hold on to a pro football team. For various reasons, it's never quite worked out. You don't always think about cities as a focal point for rooting interests, but San Antonio is a feel-good story if the AAF works out in the long haul. There was a palpable energy to the Alamodome Saturday night and Shaan Washington's hit on San Diego Fleet quarterback Mike Bercovici sent the place into a frenzy. And for a completely separate reason: coach Mike Riley might be the nicest guy in the game.
Why you should adopt the San Diego Fleet
Whereas San Antonio has never fully enjoyed the benefit of relocation in the NFL, San Diego has felt the sting of it. Do you root for teams with empathy in your heart? The Fleet may be for you. They're also coached by Mike Martz, the mastermind behind The Greatest Show on Turf with the St. Louis Rams. If the Fleet can get their offense going after mustering just six points on Saturday, Martz's genius may yet again be on display. Plus, any team sporting battleships gets instant credibility.