Alternate History Sports

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2/14/2020 2:07 pm  #1


AAFL 1988 (V.2)

March 22, 1987-- New York

Football in the Spring will soon be back.  Following the landmark USFL anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL, a suit which the now-defunct league won but which granted them a measly $3 in compensation, many thought the idea of spring football died as well.  But, citing the very same lawsuit, as well as the obvioius box office and television success of the USFL, a new group of investors has come forward to bring football back to the Spring.  The All-American Football League will be the name of this new entity, and from the initial look of things, it may have some staying power.   Among those present at the league's press conference at New York's Downtown Athletic Club were former USFL brainchild, Donald Dixon, prominent Texas oil man Ross Perot, NY publisher Donald Newhouse, Chicago financier Robert Pritzker, Ted Arison of Carnival Cruiselines, and MIchigan real estate mogul Abe Taubmann.  Dixon, who will serve as the AAFL's first commissioner, announced the formation of the 10 team league which will begin play in March of 1988. 

Citing the success of the USFL to create a demand for spring football, Dixon promised the AAFL to be a league of high quality football, with ticket prices within the reach of most families and names that even casual football fans would recognize.  Whether or not current NFL players will be willing to take the chance on yet another upstart league after the demise of both the World Football League and the USFL remains to be seen, but with labor unrest on the horizon in the NFL, the timing may be right for this newest upstart league.  Dixon went on to name the inaugural 10 franchises, with promises of team names, identities and head coaches to be in place before the league's initial talent draft in October.  The league will be playing in a lot of famliiar cities to USFL fans, though there are a couple of new destinations in place as well.  Dixon announced the following cities and stadiums as 1988 franchise locations:

EAST
Atlanta:  Georgia Tech's Bobby Dowd Stadium
New York:  Shea Stadium
Orlando: Citrus Bowl
St. Louis: Busch Stadium
Washington: RFK Stadium

WEST
Dallas: SMU's Ownby Stadium
Denver: Mile High Stadium
Los Angeles:  Rose Bowl Colisseum
Oakland:  Oakland-Alameda Stadium
Seattle: Husky Stadium

The league plans on working on a television deal, and developing local ticket and PR teams in each of the league's cities over the next few months, with player acquisition to come in the late fall.  The investor-owners present expressed great optimism about the future of the AAFL, but there remain many questions to be answered before the league kicks off in March. 

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2/14/2020 8:21 pm  #2


Re: AAFL 1988 (V.2)

May 15, 1987-- New York

AAFL Announces 10 Founding Franchises

In their second press conference since forming back in March, the All-American Football League today presented the 10 franchises which will form the first season, along with the investors who will serve as Presidents of each and 3 of the Head Coaches for the 1988 season planned for March.  The announcement begain with League Commissioner David Dixon announcing that the ten league investors have chosen to institute a centralized funding system in which the investors will pool their resources, with each of the 10 franchises sharing both costs and revenue until the league is solidly funded and greater independence of franchises can be afforded.  Each franchise will have one of the investors as their CEO and President, but player negotiations, stadium contracts, and any ticket and television revenue will be centrally managed.  Only stadium-related revenue will be tailored to each team, with concessions, merchandise, and parking revenue varying to reflect each market.  Following Mr. Dixon's initial statements, the 10 investors introduced themselves as each revealed the name and logo for the franchise they will manage.   The 10 inaugural franchises and President/CEO's will be:

Atlanta Legion-- Textiles magnate Roger Milliken
Colorado Rangers-- Investment guru Warren Buffet
Dallas Rawhides-- Texas oilman Ross Perot
Los Angeles Stars-- former USFL owner Abe Taubman
NewYork Knights-- Publishing giant Donald Newhouse
Oakland Sharks-- Mars Candy hei  F.E. Mars
Orlando Tropics-- Cruiseline Exec. Ted Arison
Seattle Sasquatch-- Motorola's Robert Gavin
St. Louis Rampage-- Busch Brewery's namesake, August Busch
Washington Warriors-- Chicken King Franklin Perdue

The logos for each team were also revealed, with teams ranging from a traditional Red, White and blue format (Washington and Dallas) to more exotic combinations such as Seattle's Green, Brown and Yellow, or Los Angeles's metallic gold, black and almost-lavender shade of purple.  It was noted that far from shying away from Oakland's departed Raiders, the AAFL's Sharks will also don black and silver uniforms, something the still seething Raider fans can celebrate.  

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Following the franchise reveals, the league investors and Commissioner Dixon were joined by three faces familiar to football fans.  Ted Marchibroda, respected offensive guru formerly of the Buffalo Bills was introduced as the new Head Coach of the St. Louis Rampage.  Former USFL Houston Gambler head coach Jack Pardee does not have to travel too far as he was named the leader of the Dallas Rawhides, and LA Rams Offensive Coordinator Ernie Zampese was introduced as the head man for the new LA Stars. Based on these picks it seems offense will be the name of the game for the AAFL.  And with rumors that current NFL coordinators Bruce Coslett, Jim Hannifan and Joe Pendry are also in negotiations with the league, it seems safe to say that the AAFL will be hoping that offensive fireworks will draw fans to football in the spring. 

 

2/14/2020 8:29 pm  #3


Re: AAFL 1988 (V.2)

(And yes, I know that I have borrowed heavily from some real-world logos such as SJSU or the Colorado Avalanche secondary.  Not all the logos I use will be 100% my own.)  But I do promise that many of the teams will be relocated, redubbed or have new logos as time progresses. 

 

2/15/2020 12:22 pm  #4


Re: AAFL 1988 (V.2)

May 7, 1987-- Washington D.C.
"Gamechanger"
The 17th Federal Court in D.C. today shook the sports world as a second lawsuit related to NFL antitrust allegations produced yet another damaging ruling for the NFL.  Just as the 1985 lawsuit from the USFL found that the NFL was acting as a monopoly and preventing the free flow of players to the upstart league, this new ruling finds that the NFL continues to engage in unfair labor practices related to player mobility.  In a shocking decision from the court, all NFL contracts from 1982 and later are declared void and unenforceable.  This would require the NFL to renegotiate hundreds of player contracts, including those of all former USFL players as well as all players who entered the NFL after 1982, and this at a time when negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA players' union are at a standstill.  The addition of this new requirement might prove to be a breaking point for the league, as the sheer volume of free agents created by this ruling puts far more power into the hands of the union in its grievances against the league owners.  But while this is a nightmare scenario for the 67 year old league, the newest league on the market, the AAFL may be primed to benefit, with nearly 500 NFL players now available to sign.  This may alter the strategy of the league to focus on college talent and borderline NFL players.  We reached out to AAFL Commissioner David Dixon, and were unable to reach him for comment. 

May 10, 1987-- New York
"AAFL Will Pursue NFL Talent, Reveals Coaching Staffs"
In a statement from the commissioner of the AAFL, David Dixon, the league announced that it would consider all NFL players who were released from their NFL contracts due to this week's stunning court ruling, free agents and potential AAFL recruits.  The league has even gone so far as to allow each team 5 players who would not be counted against each team's roster budget allowance.  This move is almost certainly designed to allow teams to bring in big name players in key positions such as Quarterback, Linebacker or Running Back. So the question now is whether players will take their chances with the AAFL or remain with the proven, but somewhat tumultuous NFL. 

In a second release, the AAFL has anounced the head coaches for all 10 of the league's franchises.  After announcing that Ted Marchibroda would leave the Bills for its St. Louis franchise, that Ernie Zampese would leave the Rams to coach the AAFL's LA Stars and that former USFL coach Jack Pardee would coach in Dallas, seven other coaches were announced today.  They are:

Atlanta:  Falcons O-Coordinator Jim Hannifan. 
New York: NY Jets D-Coordinator Bud Carson.
Orlando: Former USFL Head Coach Steve Spurrier
Washington: Former USFL Head Coach Pepper Rodgers
Colorado: Former USFL Head Coach Mouse Davis
Oakland:  Eagles D-Coordinator Wade Phillips
Seattle: CFL Head Coach Don Matthews

Each team will be holding fan gatherings in their respective cities over the next two weeks, at which time the head coach will engage with fans and each franchise will release their uniforms for the 1988 campaign.  The AAFL has signed on with Champion as the provider of uniforms for their inaugural season. 

May 22, 1987--Los Angeles, CA
"Tune in Next Spring"
What a month it has been for the All-American Football League.  Following the ruling from the circuit court that freed over 400 NFL players from their existing contracts, and the release of all 10 of the AAFL coaches, we did not expect much more to come out until player recruitment this fall, however, in what has to be considered a major move for the fledgling league, today the AAFL announced that it had completed two separate television contracts.  The first contract is with the equally novice Fox TV network, which began broadcasting in 1986 and just recently began adding prime time broadcasts.  The Fox stations nationwide will broadcast 3 games each Sunday, with two regional 12pm EST games and a 3:30pm EST "spotlight game".  The second contract combines the broadcast giant ABC and its cable sports channel ESPN for two games per week, a Friday night game, scheduled for 8pm EST and a Saturday "Showcase" game at 3pm.  These two contracts, which are believed to provide the new AAFL with funding similar to the proposed spring contracts of the USFL in 1985, signify that every AAFL game will be televised, and certainly provides support to the initial investors, allowing for a faster timetable towards profitability and, in the minds of many, as clear indication that the legacy of the USFL will be taken up in a big way with the AAFL.   

 

 

2/15/2020 1:04 pm  #5


Re: AAFL 1988 (V.2)

 The league has even gone so far as to allow each team 5 players who would not be counted against each team's roster budget allowance.  This move is almost certainly designed to allow teams to bring in big name players in key positions such as Quarterback, Linebacker or Running Back.

Ah...So the Beckham Rule in AAFL, nice.


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2/15/2020 6:26 pm  #6


Re: AAFL 1988 (V.2)

May 23, 1987--Los Angeles
"New TV Deal comes with Strings Attached"
As details emerge about the combined Fox/ABC/ESPN TV deal which the AAFL acquired, we see that there were some strings attached.  Not only are there minimum ratings qualifiers which could allow one or both deals to be nullified if the AAFL cannot generate adequate viewership, but there is also a stipulation that by the 1989 season the AAFL must have representation in at least 9 of the top 15 markets in the USA.  At present the league has 7 such teams, with NY, LA, Oakland (Bay Area), Washington DC, Atlanta, Dallas and Seattle.  This requirement will necessitate that the league eithe relocate 2 franchises for 1989 or expand to 12 teams with both new franchises representing top 15 cities.  We tried contacting league offices for a response to this discovery but were unable to acquire an official response. 

 

2/16/2020 9:35 am  #7


Re: AAFL 1988 (V.2)

June 5, 1987--New York
"AAFL Has the Look".
Today in the 10 cities of the new upstart All-American Football League fans got their first look at the uniforms of their teams and the first chance to meet their head coaches.  In New York, the slate blue, black and silver uniforms of the Knights were unveiled by team majjority owner Donald Newhouse, celebrity minority owner Joe Namath, and head coach Bud Carson.  In LA both Arnold Scharzenneger and minority owner Sly Stallone were on hand to unveil the Stars' uniform, a gold and purple combination that captures the glitz of LA but does not really feel like something either action star would wear.  The biggest turnout was in Orlando, where former UF star QB and USFL Bandits Head Coach, Steve Spurrier, revealed the orange and green uniforms of the Orlando Tropics.  Looking a lot like the Miami Hurricanes, the Tropics will almost certainly try to stock their roster with former Canes, Noles and Gators to draw fans.  Our favorite look?  Well, around the bullpen there were a lot of opinions but the general consensus was that the Oakland Sharks came as close to a Raiders look as possible without spurring litigation, that Seattle, while not for everyone, had a look that evoked the Great Northwest, and that Washington was looking sharp in their patriotic Red, White and Blues.  Here are all the looks for those of you already thinking about which team to root for, or considering purchasing a jersey at your local Sears, a recently released league partner that will feature league merchandise alongside their line of NFL jerseys.   So, without further ado, the look of your AAFL teams, beginning with the East.
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     Thread Starter
 

2/16/2020 9:37 am  #8


Re: AAFL 1988 (V.2)

And the AAFL West uniforms.
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     Thread Starter
 

2/16/2020 11:28 am  #9


Re: AAFL 1988 (V.2)

Everything looks really good here! I'm excited to see how the story and league develops.


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2/16/2020 4:35 pm  #10


Re: AAFL 1988 (V.2)

I really should support the sharks, but that St. Louis identity is making me feel like going on a rampage!


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