Alliance of American Football debuts with strong ratings

A Lone Star flag made an appearance at Saturday's San Antonio Commanders game because Texas.- SHAWN MITCHELL

In the inaugural game of the new Alliance of American Football league season, the Orlando Apollos won in convincing fashion, defeating the Atlanta Legends 40-6.

"It's one more challenge at the end of a long career", said Polian, 76, who co-founded the AAF with Charlie Ebersol, a TV and film producer whose father, Dick, defined NBC Sports' programming for more than two decades and created "Sunday Night Football".

That's a heck of a victory for the new football league, which generally played to positive reviews in its opening week.

The Head Ball Coach is back, lighting up the scoreboard and selling the Alliance of American Football. The eight-team upstart league will play a 10-game regular-season schedule and crown its champion after a title game on April 27. Additionally, there will be a sky judge referee who can communicate with the officials on the field in real-time so the refs won't have to go under the hood. His first head coaching job was a three-year stint in the mid-1980s with the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits.

If you get a chance to catch a game, you should. "I think that's what we laid the groundwork for".

"We know we're going to have some tricks up our sleeve", Gilbert said about playing in Spurrier's system.

Polian and Ebersol said every National Football League team had scouts in San Antonio when all the teams recently held training camp and then each played an exhibition game.

Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Athens, Georgia.

"I think the fans had a good time tonight, didn't they?" Right now, fans are curious about the new league, and this was the first opportunity for fans to tune to see what it was all about.

Here are some of the first's we saw last night at Spectrum Stadium - Marshall's 26-yard touchdown pass from Gilbert early in the second quarter was the league's first-ever TD.

Orlando built a 22-6 lead at halftime and never looked back to win its season opener. Legends quarterback Matt Simms was under duress the entire night, often not having any time at all after receiving the snap to make his reads. They'll have one possession to score a touchdown, then attempt a two-point conversion.

It couldn't have been a better debut for the Orlando Apollos on Saturday. That game will be played on February 17 at 4PM EST. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the first matchup, while NFL Network will take the nightcap.

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