NinetyNineYards continues to cast its eye over the new pro football league the American Alliance of Football (AAF). This week we put the spotlight on the team in Tennessee.
Memphis is known for its music. It is the “Home of the Blues” and “Birthplace of Rock and Roll.” With a new professional football team in town, the Memphis Express, it is now hoping to be recognised as part of the new league. The Express are one of eight teams in the AAF that will kick off next February.
The Memphis franchise wants to be recognised as being the best. Their media notes suggest it is a team in a city on the fast track to making a difference. Proud of its famous heritage, excited by its future, strong and never settling.
“The name stands for progression, passion and fun, which are all traits that I find in the everyday Memphian,” said Kosha Irby, President of the Express. “The city will be able to connect with this name and this identity because I think it truly represents not only today, but the future.” The red, white, and blue in the logo reflect Memphis’ place at the heart of America.
Irby was emphatic about the team name. “Today is the day to get on board the Memphis Express.”
Speed is of the essence, because speed is the essence. Fast, unstoppable up the middle, and reliable – like a high-speed train or jet or breakthrough. And this rush comes with a schedule as well, one that begins in February, one week after the Super Bowl.
The team will play its games at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
The Head Coach
Former Bears star linebackers Mike Singletary is the team’s head coach. Singletary has over ten years coaching experience in the NFL including three years in San Francisco as their head coach.
The offensive coordinator for the Express is Hal Mumme. Best known for the air raid offense he helped make popular, Mumme has coached in various roles.
“Hal Mumme brings many positives to our team and offense,” confirmed Singletary. “First and foremost it’s his creativity. I know it’s called the air raid system, but I want to use his imagination to get into the endzone and bring balance to the offense. I know the physicality that I want to have on our team. I want to bring muscle to the passing game.”
The Express have signed former Razorbacks quarterback Austin Allen. He played college football for the University of Arkansas and was their starting quarterback from 2016 to 2017. The Buccaneers signed Allen as an undrafted free agent.
The St. Louis Rams drafted running back Zac Stacy in 2013. He rushed for 973 yards in his rookie year. As a result of breaking his ankle, his football career appeared to be in the balance. After signing with Saskatchewan of the Canadian Football League, he never made the roster.
Stacy will be one of many former NFL players hoping to make it back into pro football with the AAF. The new league has become an avenue for NFL players who thought their careers were over.
Will the AAF survive?
Steve Ehrhart has been involved with previous pro-football teams in Memphis. “The key is having financial staying power,” Erhart suggested. “In all three of those leagues (the USFL, CFL and XFL), the losses got to people and people didn’t want to continue to lose money.”
Ehrhart admits, “There will be challenges and it is a different time but that’s been said before. I don’t think the challenges are insurmountable. It’s an opportunity and we wish them well.”
Previous AAF articles
Image courtesy aaf.com