The Alliance of American Football wants to fill your post-NFL season sportsball needs, and Memphis is one of the cities where they’ve established a team. The Memphis Express start their season on February 10th and have their first home game coming up at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday, February 16th. To help get you ready, here’s a look at what the AAF is, who’s involved, and what you can expect in their inaugural season.
What’s the Alliance of American Football?
The Alliance of American Football is an 8-team league:
Salt Lake Stallions
San Diego Fleet
San Antonio Commanders
The league was founded by TV and film producer Charlie Ebersol and Hall of Famer Bill Polian, and several other notable football figures are involved. The AAF wants to fill a void felt by football fans following the Super Bowl and give players who just barely missed their shot at the NFL a second chance to go pro. It’s called the Alliance to signify a partnership between the fans, the players, and the game. They’ve placed an emphasis on being tech-savvy, allowing live streaming of games on a free Alliance app and integrated fantasy football options with “real rewards.” The league’s culture also prioritizes player safety and wellbeing by using state-of-the-art protective wear and providing players a bonus system, post-football career planning, counseling, and scholarship support for postsecondary education.
The AAF teams will play a 12-week season kicking-off February 9, 2019 on CBS and culminating with the championship game the weekend of April 26-28, 2019.
Who are the Memphis Express?
Team President: Kosha Irby
General Manager: Will Lewis
Coach: Mike Singletary
See more of the staff roster here.
The players for the Memphis Express come mostly from schools in the region. Four of them are either from Memphis or played for the University of Memphis. The Memphis Express 52-player active roster for 2019:
The Memphis Express Game Experience
The AAF will be officiated under slightly different rules and will offer a different game experience from the NFL. They’re working on an official document that covers all the rule differences. A couple of examples:
- No kickoffs or extra points. Teams must go for two.
- Onside kicks have been replaced by a 4th & 12.
As for the local game going experience, the Memphis Express has promised to improve the WiFi situation at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, and want to try unusual things like letting people bring their dogs to games. They will be partnering with WeAreMemphis to host a Silent Disco during the February 16th home opener. For the April 13th closing game, they’ll partner with WeAreMemphis again for an art installation that will include street art by local artists projected onto stadium surfaces. The April 13 game against the Atlanta Legends also coincides with the 17th Annual Southern Hot Wing Festival.
2/10 Memphis at Birmingham
2/16 Arizona at Memphis
2/23 Memphis at Orlando
3/2 San Diego at Memphis
3/10 Memphis at Atlanta
3/16 Memphis at Salt Lake
3/24 Birmingham at Memphis
3/30 Orlando at Memphis
4/6 Memphis San Antonio
4/13 Atlanta at Memphis
Three Memphis Express games will be televised thanks to a partnership with CW30/Local 24:
- Saturday, March 16 at Salt Lake, 3 pm
- Saturday, March 30 vs. Orlando, 1 pm
- Saturday, April 6 at San Antonio, 3 pm