There are a number of pro football leagues starting in the near future, and all will need their niche to differentiate themselves from the others to grab whatever attention the NFL and college football don't already consume. The XFL 2.0 will have the built-in name recognition that Vince McMahon brings. Pacific Pro Football, backed by Tom Brady's agent Don Yee, has secured a sponsorship from Adidas and will be the first to hit the field, beginning this summer.
And then there is the Alliance of American Football. Launched by Charlie Ebersol, son of longtime NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol, and former NFL personnel executive Bill Polian, the AAF is looking to be the most football-credible of the NFL minor leagues. "There are 28,000 Division I football players. Only 1,700 have NFL jobs," Ebersol told ESPN. "We're looking for those Kurt Warners working in grocery stores, and we think we will find them."
While the AAF looks to build rosters of diamonds in the rough, the league is reportedly looking at bringing in big-name coaches. According to Alex Marvez of The Sporting News, the AAF is targeting coaches with experience in the NFL or major college football who are either looking to work their way back into the game or are of retirement age who are looking to stay connected to football without the year-long commitment. While he didn't offer specific names who are definitely in discussions with the league, Marvez offered these coaches as the type of guys the AAF has in mind:
— Mike Singletary: The Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker enjoyed a quick NFL ascent, becoming San Francisco’s head coach less than five years after first becoming an assistant in 2003. His descent was almost as rapid. Singletary has spent three of the past four seasons out of the NFL entirely after his 18-22 tenure with the 49ers ended after the 2010 campaign.
— Rick Neuheisel: Although he is best known for his 12 seasons as a college head coach, Neuheisel spent three years on Baltimore’s staff as quarterbacks coach (2005-06) and offensive coordinator (2007). He remains close to the sport as a television and SiriusXM analyst.
— Steve Spurrier: Yes, the “Ol’ ball coach" is getting old with Spurrier set to turn 73 in April, and his two-year NFL head coaching run with Washington was disastrous. Spurrier, though, did later regain his mojo as South Carolina’s head coach for 11 years. Spurrier also is the kind of presence that will draw fans and media attention if connected with an Alliance team stationed in the Sunshine State — Orlando, I’m looking at you — based on his legacy at the University of Florida.
What's in it for these guys? For one, it wouldn't be a year-long commitment. The AAF season will last 10 regular season games and four playoff rounds, after which the coaches would then be free to hit the golf course instead of the personnel circuit. And there's another, writes Marvez: "There is monetary appeal, as well. One source told Sporting News there is talk of a $500,000 salary."
The AAF has secured a television rights agreement with CBS Sports. The league plans to launch Feb. 9, 2019, one week after Super Bowl LIII.