Josh Johnson at the AAF draft.

The latest spring football league to try to take their shot at getting off the ground is The Alliance of American Football, or AAF for short. This iteration of an NFL alternative plans to start play in February 2019 and will be launched by former Colts GM and ESPN analyst Bill Polian and television executives Dick and Charlie Ebersol.

Here’s a brief overview of everything you need to know about the league, including the teams and locations. But so far, maybe the most interesting thing about it is the amazing number of former professional and college football personalities that are involved in this startup.

The AAF began the process of filling out rosters on Tuesday night with a special quarterback draft. Former Giants, Browns, Bengals, and Bucs quarterback Josh Johnson was selected #1 overall by San Diego. That was followed by former Georgia Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray being selected by Atlanta. Murray is now a CBS NCAA analyst, making that somewhat awkward:

Other names selected in the first round included former Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight and Garrett Gilbert from Texas, plus some players from smaller schools.

After Round 1, other former college stars to get their name called included Blake Sims (Alabama), Stephen Morris (Miami), B.J. Daniels (USF), and Christian Hackenberg (Penn State). Remember when Hackenberg was supposed to be the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft a few years ago? Now he’s here getting selected in the third round of the QB Draft for a yet-to-be-launched league, behind Matt Simms, after flaming out of the NFL at warp speed. Hackenberg was even on hand for the occasion.

Other QBs you might have heard of entering the AAF pool include Austin Allen (Arkansas) and Austin Appleby (Purdue/Florida). There are more quarterbacks with NFL experience too including former Packers QB Scott Tolzein and former Titans QB Zach Mettenberger. Mettenberger landed on the same roster in Memphis as Hackenberg so I guess that makes it a competition (?) worth watching (???). Mettenberger was a starter for the Titans as recently as 2015 but soon found himself out of the league. And Mettenberger and Hackenberg wound up on the CBS set together early on:

Meanwhile, former Coastal Carolina QB Alex Ross was the “Mr. Irrelevant” of the QB draft. You can find all the picks here. And check out the Starter jackets players got here:

The quarterbacks are just the beginning though. Some of the coaches in the AAF are utterly fascinating names from days gone by. The full list of coaches is here, and it includes everyone from Steve Spurrier and Mike Singletary to Mike Martz and Brad Childress. Michael Vick is even an offensive coordinator! It’s like you could spin the wheel of any semi-relevant major college or NFL coach of the past 20 years and find them as a coach in this league. Dennis Erickson is even there.

In case you want to follow the AAF’s first season, the inaugural and championship game will be on CBS with a weekly game on CBS Sports Network. And given the eclectic list of names involved, it may be at least worth a glance for curiosity’s sake. Time will tell if these names and the concept of the AAF are interesting enough to keep the league going in the long-term, though, where other spring football leagues have failed. If it isn’t, then we may see some of these same names in the XFL in 2020.

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.