This new football league presents sports fans with a worthy competitor to the NFL

The American Alliance of Football (AAF) is a brand new professional football league hosting eight teams in the U.S.. Playing with basic football rules, the AAF is branding itself as the alternative to the NFL. An alternative that focuses on the excitement of football as opposed to the momentum-killing habits of the NFL.

This league was created by Charlie Ebersol, a television producer for USA Network and CNBC, and Bill Polian, an NFL Hall of Famer and front office genius for NFL teams including  the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts. It is designed to be for the people.

The AAF offers an interesting alternative to that of the traditional American football league, the NFL. The AAF was specifically designed to be known as the alternative to the NFL but has aspirations of becoming superior to the NFL in the future. The mere creation of the AAF and all of its planning is proof that this league is meant to be a competitor, not a challenger.

Out of the eight AAF franchises, six with the exception of the Arizona Hotshots and Memphis Express, play in cities not currently hosting an NFL franchise. The league’s inaugural week directly followed the NFL’s largest event of the year, the Super Bowl, which commences the beginning of the NFL off-season. Even in week one, it was evident the players of the AAF are given the freedom to play hard while still keeping the game clean and fair.

Examining the AAF, it is clear that its creators designed it with the intention of crafting an alternative to the NFL but with one main distinction; the AAF is going to include everything that the NFL lacks.

The NFL is still the largest sports league in North America. During its 21-week schedule, including the playoffs and preseason, Sunday entertainment is basically owned by the NFL. However, as of late, many fans feel the NFL is lacking excitement, big hits, personalities, competent officiating and general fun.

Following week one, although it is still early in its season, the response to this new league has been quite positive.The AAF premiered on Saturday, Feb. 9 on CBS.

On that same night, the NBA hosted a marquee matchup between the James Harden led Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder boasting star players such as Russell Westbrook and Paul George. A terrific game to the very end, the Thunder ended up coming from behind and stealing the victory.

However, according to Yahoo! Sports, more people were watching the AAF with a television rating of 2.1 than were watching the NBA, which had a television rating of 2.0.

Although television ratings tell part of the story of how successful the first week of the AAF was, the real success comes from social media’s reaction. Since the AAF was under advertised and mostly unnoticed due to the excitement of the NFL’s  playoff season and subsequent Super Bowl, reactions on social media were certainly a pleasant surprise.

According to Yahoo! Finance, “The AAF’s mobile app became the No. 1 sports app in the iOS store, the league quickly amassed more than 200,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram, and ESPN showed highlights from Saturday night’s games on SportsCenter.”

In the AAF’s  opening week, one play involving a quarterback sack caused more buzz on social media than any other play during the NFL’s most recent season. This Excludes, of course, the no-call in the NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams, which  was because of negative controversy and not an exciting football play.

The AAF has definitely gained credibility online, which is a terrific sign. For any business, having a good reception on social media is incredibly important to the success of that business, and the AAF is certainly a popular talking point in the sports world at the moment.

This new professional football league is a terrific addition to the sports landscape as it provides an alternative to the NFL. Not only is it an alternative, but it has mastered everything the NFL is struggling with.

The NFL makes football entertaining, but only because it facilitates the game. The AAF takes it a step further by promoting the entertainment side of the game while respecting the integrity of football. Although the AAF is still young, the NFL should take notice.