No the AAF is not a threat. Let’s just get that out of the way first and foremost. The NFL is too big and powerful now to ever be dethroned by any other football league in the world.
Here are two critical reasons why the AAF could never touch the NFL and one reason why they could annoy the shield:
Money and the Power
The NFL isn’t necessarily a monopoly, but it’s not far from it. Furthermore, a league like the AAF simply lacks the funding and size to come close to the NFL. Every player in the AAF is on a three-year deal worth $250,000 of non-guaranteed money. All athletes will make $70,000 in their first year, $80,000 in their second year, then $100,000 in their third year not counting bonuses in their contracts depending on performance.
That doesn’t seem like much, because it isn’t at all, especially with non-guaranteed contracts. As far as paying coaches, the Sporting News reports that the AAF is planning to pay coaches $500,000 annually. However, the AAF hasn’t officially confirmed this statement. This is literal chump change to what some players make in the NFL.
Paying players isn’t the only issue. The AAF simply could not handle a lawsuit similar to the suit slapped on the NFL from Colin Kaepernick. Not similar as in reason, but similar as in financials.
The talent that each league gets to pick from is considerably indifferent. The NFL will continue to get the best football players in the collegiate level yearly. Thus, the AAF gets to choose from the remains of players that did not make it to the NFL or those who did not make it IN the NFL, as that is what the league is designed for.
Consequently, more viewers are going to tune into the NFL to see more competitive, top talent going head-to-head. Some notable players that headline the AAF’s top talent is former top five draft pick Trent Richardson, Christian Hackenbreg, Zac Stacy, Will Hill, Brad Wing, Denard Robinson, Matt Asiata, Aaron Murray, and Scooby Wright.
The AAF will be playing out through the NFL offseason, strategically placed. Yet, this doesn’t mean that the AAF could end up stealing some portion of the NFL’s viewership.
Much of the NFL audience has expressed their displeasure with how the NFL is played nowadays on social media and continue to everyday. In contrast, the AAF’s rules allow for a more violent type of play style unlike the NFL.
Since most of the “old-fashioned” NFL viewers complain that the NFL has taken excitement and aggressiveness out of the game, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that those same fans that complain so much could start tuning into the AAF instead. With all of this whole point being somewhat of a reach, this is something that has the potential to not happen at all. However, it is far from a sure thing that it wouldn’t happen. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see a percentage in viewership drop, as there have been conflicts over a ratings drop in the past.