The inaugural games of the Alliance of American Football were a rousing success for what could very well turn out to be the National Football League’s development league. With the first round of games in the books, let’s look at the Alliance of American Football Power Rankings for week one.
AAF Power Rankings: Week One
8. Atlanta Legends (0-1)
The Atlanta Legends have been the most turbulent team in the league so far this season, and their week one showing proved that football just isn’t Atlanta’s thing at the moment. The quarterback situation in Atlanta is weak at best with both Matt Simms and Aaron Murray making abysmal appearances in the season opener. The Legends were drubbed by the Orlando Apollos 40-6, proving that the Legends defense has a long way to go as well.
7. Memphis Express (0-1)
Frankly, with both Christian Hackenberg and Zach Mettenberger in the quarterback room for the Memphis Express, more was expected from this team. We knew Hackenberg wasn’t NFL-ready, but his performance before being pulled for Brandon Silvers was shockingly terrible. And the fact that Silvers saw action this season before Mettenberger means that the Express might really be in trouble. The only bright sides to this Express team were a defense that forced two fumbles and a lead running back that averaged 4.8 yards per carry in Zac Stacy. The playcalling in Memphis was a little suspect in the Express’ debut — case in point, Stacy not getting the ball on fourth-and-goal — and the offense will have to find its identity if the Express want to succeed this year.
6. San Diego Fleet (0-1)
The scoreboard of the San Diego Fleet‘s loss to the San Antonio Commanders really looks better than it is. San Diego is yet another team dealing with instability at the quarterback position. Mike Bercovici was continually put in danger by the offensive line, and head coach Mike Martz wound up benching the former Arizona State Sun Devil for Phillip Nelson after a smattering of ugly interceptions. But even making a quarterback change couldn’t prevent the Fleet’s offense from shooting itself in the foot and turning the ball over. The defense continually allowed Commanders receivers to get open and make catches when it counted.
And to top it all off, the Fleet’s offensive line will never live down allowing their quarterback to get hit like this.
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) February 10, 2019
The Fleet’s offensive line was a liability in week one.
5. San Antonio Commanders (1-0)
The Commanders put on a show for their hometown crowd and proved that San Antonio deserves a professional football team. Logan Woodside wasn’t the best quarterback to hit the field in week one, but he was impressive in spurts, dropping dimes downfield when the Commanders needed points the most. And even though the run game was mostly disappointing with Kenneth Farrow III as the lead back, the Commanders receivers out-played the Fleet’s secondary almost effortlessly. The Commanders defense also had a terrific day, racking up six sacks against a struggling Fleet o-line. However, despite their strong showing on defense, the offense stalled out one too many times against the Fleet to keep them in the top half of the week one power rankings. If Woodside can settle in, expect the Commanders to climb this list easily.
4. Salt Lake City Stallions (0-1)
The Salt Lake City Stallions put up a fight against the Arizona Hotshots, the league’s expected top dogs going into week one. Josh Woodrum completed under 50 percent of his passes in his AAF debut and threw a pick, but still managed to average 10+ yards per completion. A pair of interceptions for the Stallions’ passers hurt their cause more than a little bit given the offensive firepower served up by the Hotshots, but the offensive line kept them (mostly) out of trouble. Don’t count the Stallions out after their week one loss.
3. Birmingham Iron (1-0)
People that say defense is boring probably only watched Super Bowl LIII and missed the Birmingham Iron‘s week one performance. The Iron have stars all over this team, which could have been expected given their proximity to the absolutely dominant Alabama Crimson Tide. Luis Perez and Quinton Patton may be the most dangerous offensive pairing in the league, connecting four times for 107 yards in week one.
But Birmingham isn’t just an offensive fireworks show. The Iron was the first team in AAF history to shut out their opponent. The defense was unbelievably stout, allowing only two of 10 third-down conversions and 77 passing yards while posting two picks and a fumble recovery.
2. Orlando Apollos (1-0)
The Apollos kept the scorekeepers busy this week, and the 40 points they dropped are just as attributable to the Apollos offense as they are to the Legends poor defense. The tandem of quarterback Garrett Gilbert and running back Akeem Hunt made this one of the league’s best teams to watch from the get-go, but their week one performance should have people filing into Spectrum Stadium when the Apollos return home in week three. Terence Garvin‘s two interceptions, one of which he took to the house, make his early case to become the face of a stifling Apollos defense a good one.
1. Arizona Hotshots (1-0)
SLC vs Arizona was easily the best game of week one, and Arizona should be proud of what they accomplished. John Wolford, a surprise starter given that Trevor Knight is on the roster, out-passed and out-scored every starting quarterback in the league in week one. Rashad Ross showed some clear chemistry with Wolford that ought to have the Memphis secondary shaking in its boots next week. Arizona gets the edge over Orlando and Birmingham for now because of their much-more-worthy opponent.
Last Word on AAF Week One Power Rankings
It’s crowded at the top, with Arizona, Orlando and Birmingham all making very strong cases for the number one spot. Half the league has controversy at quarterback, but the limited amount of time each time has spent together will do that to a unit. Once these teams begin to find their identities, the league could see a massive shake-up in the rankings.
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