ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Head Ball Coach is attend, lighting up the scoreboard and selling the Alliance of American Football.
And followers — no longer decrease than these in Orlando, Florida, who showed up in the rain for Steve Spurrier’s debut in the brand new league Saturday evening — are fervent to take.
The 73-year-old-fashioned coach returned to the sideline for the first time since without warning walking a long way flung from the college game in 2015, bringing alongside an bright form of offense that didn’t disappoint an announced crowd of 20,191 for the AAF opener between the Orlando Apollos and Atlanta Legends.
With a 52-man roster featuring 29 gamers from nine Florida colleges, there’s a native feel to the Apollos for followers of the fatherland group.
It begins with Spurrier, who won the Heisman Trophy as a player at the University of Florida and later build together his simplest physique of labor as a coach at his alma mater, a mere 113 miles up the toll road in Gainesville.
And, there became as soon as fully ample razzle-dazzle and imaginative play-calling in the Apollos’ 40-6 victory over the Legends to remind the devoted, who can take season tickets for as diminutive as $75, of the authorized old-fashioned days.
“I judge the followers had a authorized time,” stated Spurrier, who improved to 6-0 in his first game with the six teams he coached. “They saw ample authorized plays, particularly after the first quarter.”
It became as soon as a lengthy evening for Atlanta, which took the self-discipline barely a month after the sudden departure of coach Brad Childress and proper days after the group determined ex-NFL quarterback Michael Vick would no longer maintain the title of Legends offensive coordinator.
“We’re upset,” Legends coach Kevin Coyle stated.
“I judge Atlanta’s a shimmering authorized group. Time will show in the occasion that they are,” Spurrier stated. “Time will show if we’re any authorized. It’s correct one game.”
Within the league’s other opener Saturday evening, San Antonio topped San Diego 15-6.
On Sunday, Memphis is at Birmingham, and Salt Lake at Arizona.
Two hours earlier than game-time between Orlando and Atlanta, traffic flowed freely and there had been few seen signs that the league became as soon as about to fabricate its debut at Spectrum Stadium on the campus of UCF, the place the Apollos delight in chosen to play in a more intimate surroundings than the increased Citrus Bowl come downtown Orlando.
In stark distinction to the thousands who tailgate in a festive atmosphere earlier than UCF video games in the fall, fully a smattering of followers mingled in a plaza come the 44,000-seat stadium on a cloudy and windy evening.
Rain sent some early arrivals scurrying for quilt in concession areas under the stands and intermittent showers fell quite a lot of the evening, contributing to a pair slipping and sliding and low sloppy play.
The weather even compelled Spurrier to don a baseball cap as a substitute of his signature visor.
“I judge the rain deterred the crew a diminutive bit bit,” the coach stated. “However 20,000 is shimmering authorized.”
This isn’t the first time Spurrier has been phase of a brand new league. His first head coaching job became as soon as a 3-year stint in the mid-Eighties with the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits.
He led Florida to a nationwide championship in 1996, left the Gators five years later to educate the Washington Redskins for two seasons, then ended a lengthy college profession when he walked a long way flung from a decade-lengthy end at South Carolina six video games into the 2015 season.
He smiled when he became as soon as requested about being unbeaten in his first game with six varied teams.
“Even won with the Redskins,” he stated, laughing. “That’s no longer easy to attain.”