|The beautiful and majestic Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama|
By Jay Coulter
I hope you all had a great weekend. I suppose (outside of the Senior Bowl) this was the first weekend since August that neither the college nor pros took the field. I understand there was a basketball game in Tuscaloosa, but we won’t go there.
For what it’s worth, the women did get some vindication by winning at the Capstone on Sunday.
I’m sure a lot of you settled in on Saturday to watch the first All-American Football League draft – or not. Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of the league.
It’s true. Football is back in Birmingham. The city has had more professional football teams over the past 25 years than Alabama has had coaches – and that’s saying a lot.
This time around the new league will field six teams – Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Texas and Arkansas.
It appears from visiting the league’s web site that the team's colors will be red and white. That’s a piece of marketing genius. Let’s alienate half the audience before we take the field. The Alabama team (there appears to be no nickname as of yet) will play at Legion Field. Despite popular belief, the structure is still standing – barely.
The league is hoping to attract fans by putting in-state former players on the roster. Alabama has eight players on the team while Auburn only has three.
Former Tigers include: Kody Bliss (punter), Karibi Dede (linebacker) and Tre Smith (running back).
Alabama is lead by Freddie Milons (wide receiver) and Saleem Rasheed (linebacker).
The team is coached by Mike Jones, who led NFL Europe’s Frankfurt Galaxy to a World Bowl Championship in 2006. Jones was given the job after former Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill turned the team down.
There are a couple of other Auburn connections. The team president is former Auburn great Joe Cribbs. Former Tiger Kurt Crain is an assistant on the team.
Alabama opens its season on April 19th at home against Texas.
It’s hard not to be cynical about this new venture. Will a few former players really drive people to Legion Field on a warm spring day? Haven’t we tried this at least four other times?
My guess is we’ll be talking about the All-American Football League in past tense this time next year.