One of my biggest guilty pleasures is WWE. In WWE there is a developmental brand. It is separate from the bigger entities like Raw or Smackdown that are aired regularly. This developmental brand is called NXT.
NXT often is regarded as the brand with the best content and often provides better entertainment for die hard fans. Yet, NXT will never exceed the bigger entities that WWE has. NXT works at a developmental level. The expectations are lowered and the brand routinely exceeds the expectations. My point? This is what the AAF will be to football.
The AAF is a developmental league run, most notably by Bill Polian (renowned NFL executive). This league is not shooting to out perform the NFL. They are looking to provide a league for the NFL to harbor talent. If the AAF can produce and reinvent talent then they can become that developmental league that Polian and other people in the AAF want it to be.
With that goal in mind, last week the AAF debuted and with one big hit, took over headlines on the “Saddest Sunday” for football fans. This led fans to incredibly overreact and try to claim that with one hit the AAF is already better than the NFL. The fact is it’s not, nor will it ever be.
I don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer” it’s just that brands like NXT work because expectations are lowered and the influx of talent to the main entities brings notoriety. If the AAF can do that, than they will succeed in their goal to be a developmental league. I think that they can do that and that they will.
With that said, this mentality that the league will outperform the NFL is untrue. The AAF will work at the scale it’s at the same way all developmental brands/leagues do. In the end nothing can over take the NFL or the battle tested brands but it’s always fun to have football in February!