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Alliance of American Football Adds Atlanta as Second Market

by Fran Stuchbury
April 26, 2018 - Alliance of American Football (AAF)

The Alliance of American football added its second franchise yesterday, announcing a team will play at Atlanta, Georgia at the Georgia State Stadium. Brad Childress was named the team's head coach and Michael Vick was tabbed the offensive coordinator.

While the NFL's Falcons and the still new $1.6 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium have attracted a lot of attention from the sports world, the AAF is hoping to carve its own niche in a much different way.

Georgia State Stadium has its own history that includes the Olympic games and Major League Baseball before it settled into its current configuration.

  • In 1996 it began as Centennial Olympic Stadium and was the 85,000-seat main stadium of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and the 1996 Summer Paralympic Games.

  • From 1997-2016 it was called Turner Field. After the 1996 Summer Olympics it was converted into the home ballpark of the Atlanta Braves. Turner Field opened on March 2, 1997. The final MLB game played at the site was on October 2, 2016.

  • Beginning in 2017 it became Georgia State Stadium after Georgia State purchased the stadium property. They spent $52.8 million dollars renovating it into a football facility.

  • On August 18th and 19th, the Corky Kell Classic, a series of high school football games was played at the venue.

  • On August 31, 2017 Georgia State Stadium had a sold-out crowd of 24,333 fans for Georgia State's 17-10 loss to the Tennessee State Tigers. Adding more seats to the stadium could be possible in the future.

Georgia State stadium will give Atlanta fans a close view of the action. If they sell out the 24,333 capacity venue, the intimate setting could give them a good home field advantage.

The stadium's size is similar to what the XFL San Francisco Demons experienced in 2001 at Pacific Bell Park. It was the smallest stadium in the XFL, but the Demons had the highest average attendance at 34,954. Demons fans were also very close to the action.

Atlanta was a bit of a surprise as the AAF's second market as the city is already home to an NFL team. But Atlanta is a top 10 television market which will make broadcast partner CBS happy. Also, Atlanta will have a good rivalry with Orlando. Expect AAF Player Relations Executive Hines Ward to help promote the team since he played college football at the University of Georgia.

Though the pro football history of the city is largely confined to the story of the NFL team, the birth of the Atlanta Falcons had its impetus provided by another league. In order to beat the then-rival American Football League into the market, the NFL hastily awarded a franchise to Atlanta in 1965, blocking the AFL's efforts to secure the burgeoning city. The Falcons began play the following year.

The Falcons have made it to the Super Bowl twice, losing to the Denver Broncos 34-19 at Super Bowl XXXIII on January 31, 1999. They also lost to the New England Patriots 34-28 in overtime at Super Bowl LI on February 5, 2017.

Until recently, Atlanta hasn't had much NFL success. The Falcons have had seven players named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and one head coach, though only Claude Humphrey spent the majority of his career with the team.

  • WR - Tommy McDonald - 1998

  • RB - Eric Dickerson - 1999

  • CB - Deion Sanders - 2011

  • DE - Chris Doleman - 2012

  • DE - Claude Humphrey - 2014

  • QB - Brett Favre - 2016

  • K - Morten Anderson - 2017

  • Head coach - Norm Van Brocklin - 1971

Other than the Falcons, the city has also hosted the Arena Football League's Georgia Force between 2002-2008 and again from 2011-12. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank purchased the Force before the 2004 season. Matt Nagy, who was the starting quarterback for the Georgia Force in the 2005 and 2006 seasons, is now the head coach for the NFL's Chicago Bears. Former Bear Doug Plank coached the Force from 2005 until 2008 and was named AFL Head Coach of the Year after the 2005 and 2007 seasons.

The Georgia Force folded after the AFL suspended operations following the 2008 season. The team came back to play in the AFL for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, then folded for good after the 2012 campaign. Dean Cokinos who coached the Force both those seasons is now the head coach for another AFL team, the Washington Valor.

Leading the AAF entry on the field will be long-time NFL assistant and head coach Brad Childress. He has served in a variety of positions in the NFL and college football. When he was the offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles, Andy Reid gave him a lot of credit for developing Donovan McNabb who was named to five Pro Bowls while with Philadelphia. Childress also served as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs, but his best know for his head coaching stint with the Minnesota Vikings, a team he took to the NFC Championship Game in 2009.

Brad Childress' coaching career

  • 1978-80 - Illinois Running Backs Coach

  • 1981-84 - Illinois Wide Receiver Coach

  • 1985 - Indianapolis Colts Quarterbacks Coach

  • 1986-89 - Northern Arizona Offensive Coordinator

  • 1990 - Utah Wide Receivers Coach

  • 1991-93 - Wisconsin Running Backs Coach

  • 1994-98 - Wisconsin Offensive Coordinator

  • 1999-2001 - Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks coach

  • 2002-2005 - Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator

  • 2006-2010 - Minnesota Vikings Head coach - Went 39-35 in the regular season. Took the Vikings to the playoffs twice. Made it to the NFC Championship game in 2009 but lost to the New Orleans Saints in overtime, 31-28. Was fired during his fifth season with the team in 2010 after they started the season 3-7.

  • 2012 - Cleveland Browns Offensive Coordinator

  • 2013-2015 - Kansas City Chiefs Spread Game Analyst

  • 2016 - Kansas City Chefs Offensive Coordinator

  • 2017 - Kansas City Chiefs Assistant Head Coach

  • 2018 - Chicago Bears Offensive Analyst

      A dynamic quarterback, Vick competed for 13 NFL seasons, earning four Pro Bowl nods. He got his feet wet on the sideline last year, working with Childress as a Kansas City Chiefs coaching intern. Vick has stated he will use the coaching skills he learned from Reid with Atlanta. Vick is being given an opportunity to coach in a city where he started his NFL playing career and enjoyed some of his greatest successes. New to the offensive coordinator responsibilities, it should help that Childress and Vick have spent time coaching together.

      History of Michael Vick

      • 2001 - Number one pick of the NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. Played quarterback at Virginia Tech.

      • 2001-2006 - Atlanta Falcons. In 2006 Vick became the first quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season and was named to three Pro Bowls in his six-year Atlanta tenure.

      • 2007 - Vick pleaded guilty to involvement in a dog fighting ring and spent 18 months in prison.

      • 2009-2013 - Philadelphia Eagles, including a Pro Bowl campaign in 2010.

      • 2014 - New York Jets

      • 2015 - Philadelphia Eagles

      • 2017 - Played as a captain for Team Vick in the inaugural game for the American Flag Football League


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