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AAF Brings Pro Football Back to San Diego

by Fran Stuchbury
June 1, 2018 - Alliance of American Football (AAF) - San Diego Fleet

The Alliance of American Football welcomed San Diego as its sixth market at a press conference on Thursday.

"From the moment Bill Polian and I began discussing our vision for The Alliance, a pro-football league founded on a commitment to players, fans and the game, San Diego was one of the first markets we discussed because of the city's love for the game," said Charlie Ebersol, AAF co-founder and CEO. "San Diego has a proven fan base that has displayed unwavering support and enthusiasm for their professional and collegiate football teams. 40,000 plus fans pour into SDCCU Stadium for Aztecs games; we're excited to bring more football here and become ingrained in this community."

The AAF franchise will join Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres, the American Hockey League's San Diego Gulls, Major Arena Soccer League's San Diego Sockers, World TeamTennis' San Diego Aviators, Major League Rugby's San Diego Legion and the expansion National Lacrosse League San Diego Seals on the San Diego sports scene.

The AAF named Mike Martz as San Diego's first head coach.

"Mike is a Super Bowl champion with nearly 20 years of coaching experience at the professional level. We're excited for the city of San Diego and the coaches and players that will benefit from having someone with his pedigree at the helm," said AAF co-founder and head of football Bill Polian. "San Diego is hungry for top-flight football, and we're confident Mike is the right person to lead the way."

Martz had a lengthy coaching career in college as an assistant with seven different programs from 1974 until 1991 when he embarked on his NFL career. From 1992-1994 he served as the Los Angeles Rams QB coach and from 1995-96 as the St. Louis Rams WR coach. After a stint coaching the Washington Redskins QBs from 1997-1998, Martz became offensive coordinator of the Rams. Under his "Greatest Show on Turf" offense, St. Louis went on to win Super Bowl XXXIV that season when they defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16.

In 2000 Martz became head coach of the Rams after Dick Vermeil retired. In 2001 he led the Rams to Super Bowl XXVI, falling to the New England Patriots 20-17. In his five plus seasons for the Rams his record was 53-32.

From 2006 until 2007 Martz became the offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions, then moved to the San Francisco 49ers in the same capacity the following year. Martz was the offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears from 2010-11. Since 2015, Martz has worked as the head coach of the National Team for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which features some of the nation's top draft-eligible players. Martz's team has won in each of his four appearances as head coach.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to get back on the sidelines in my hometown of San Diego. This city is very special to me. It's where I grew up, started my collegiate career and met and married my wife. I would love nothing more than to bring a championship here," said Martz.

Martz joins Steve Spurrier at Orlando, Brad Childress at Atlanta, Mike Singletary at Memphis, Craig Erickson at Salt Lake City and Rick Neuheisel as head coaches in the AAF.

Martz's squad will be playing at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium, more commonly known as SDCCU stadium. Opened in 1967, it is the current home for San Diego State college football and the Holiday Bowl since 1978, as well as the past host of the NFL's San Diego Chargers from 1967-2016 and the Poinsettia Bowl from 2005-2016. The seating capacity was 70,561 when the Chargers played there. For San Diego State, the capacity is 54,000.

It was also home for the Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres in 1968. The following season the team joined Major League Baseball and played there from 1969 until 2003. The NASL San Diego Sockers utilized the venue from 1978 until 1984. In 1999 Major League Soccer held its All-Star game at the facility.

There have been some very big football games played at SDDCU stadium including three Super Bowls: Super Bowl XXII in which the Washington Redskins defeated the Denver Broncos 42-10, Super Bowl XXXII when the Denver Broncos downed the Green Bay Packers 31-24, and Super Bowl XXXVII as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Oakland Raiders 48-21.

The stadium has also seen a college football champion crowned. In the 1984 Holiday Bowl, BYU won a national championship after they defeated Michigan 24-17.

But the venue is best known as the former home of the San Diego Chargers. After moving to San Diego from LA after the 1960 season, the Chargers were part of the American Football League from 1961 until 1969. In 1963 the Chargers won the AFL title, defeating the Boston Patriots 51-10. In 1970 they joined the NFL as part of the AFL-NFL merger. Their best NFL season came in 1994 when they made their only Super Bowl appearance, losing to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX 49-26. After the 2016 season the San Diego Chargers moved to Los Angeles.

San Diego has hosted one Arena football team. The San Diego Riptide played in arenafootball2, the AFL's minor league, for four seasons at the San Diego Sports Arena from 2002-2005. In 2003 the inventor of the run-n-shoot offense, Mouse Davis, coached the Riptide for one campaign.

The AAF has two more cities to announce in the upcoming weeks.

Stay up to date with all the AAF market announcements:

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Alliance San Diego
Alliance San Diego


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