So What is the San Diego Fleet?
by: Josh Golden
On January 12, 2017, Dean Spanos, the owner of the now Los Angeles Chargers, announced to the city of San Diego that the Chargers were relocating. Since that day, San Diego has been without an NFL team. However, the city is no longer without a professional football team. This season, a new football league called the Alliance of American Football began. The league was created by Charlie Ebersol and former NFL executive Bill Polian and has many ties to the National Football League. Legends such as Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward, Jared Allen, and Justin Tuck helped out in creating the league that contains familiar football names such as Trent Richardson, the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and former South Carolina and Florida head coach Steve Spurrier.
This season, the first of the AAF, contains eight teams, one of which is the San Diego Fleet. The Fleet, who won their first home game at SDCCU Stadium last Sunday against the Atlanta Legends by a score of 24-12. The team now has a 1-1 record on the season after an opening night loss against the San Antonio Commanders. However, the team is very exciting to watch, with starting quarterback Philip Nelson throwing a no-look pass to former Dallas Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar that even drew the attention of Patrick Mahomes, the reigning NFL MVP. The Fleet have eight more games remaining this season, including four more at home, the next one coming up this Sunday against the San Antonio Commanders at five o’clock at home. The game can also be seen on NFL Network.
Along with the Fleet, the league as a whole has actually been quite successful. On the opening night of the season, the Saturday after Super Bowl Sunday, the league got about 2.9 million viewers, while that night’s nationally televised NBA game, which was a great matchup of the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder, only had about 2 million viewers, according to Sports TV Ratings. Although this league will obviously not be as successful as the NFL, it looks like it could be an incredible compliment to the league. Not only are all the teams placed in great football cities, but the league is run by many bright football minds and has the right people in charge. Additionally, it’s a spectacular opportunity for players who are overlooked by NFL teams to get one last shot at getting into the NFL. For example, Birmingham Iron quarterback Luis Perez is already catching the eyes of multiple NFL teams and should get a shot in training camp this summer. This league has the potential to be very successful and be a very strong compliment to the NFL, and San Diegans are lucky to have a great look at the new league.