San Antonio Commanders Pick Up First Victory — One of What AAF's Founders Hope Will Be Many

click to enlarge A Lone Star flag made an appearance at Saturday's San Antonio Commanders game, because Texas. - Shawn Mitchell
Shawn Mitchell
A Lone Star flag made an appearance at Saturday's San Antonio Commanders game, because Texas.
The San Antonio Commanders kicked, picked and sacked their way to a 15-6 win over the San Diego Fleet in the inaugural game of the new Alliance of American Football Saturday night in the Alamodome.

There was only one touchdown, scored by Commanders running back Kenneth Farrow II late in the game, but plenty of sacks (six) and interceptions (three) of San Diego quarterbacks.

It was a game only Farrow’s mother and a rowdy, enthralled crowd of 27,857 could love. Despite the long list of failed pro football franchises in the Alamo City, the locals ate this stuff up. Here we go again?

Yes, here we go again.

"I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am to the city of San Antonio," said 36-year-old league co-founder Charlie Ebersol, son of sports TV legend Dick Ebersol and former beau of Britney Spears.

"I just heard the gate," he added. "I’m probably not allowed to say what it is, but its way above expectations for us."

Ebersol acknowledged that opening night, broadcast on CBS, is no indicator of interest come Week 2, not to mention April, when the league will play its championship game in Las Vegas.

But Ebersol couldn’t help trumpeting that the AAF topics were 11 of the 20 most trending on Twitter following the game and that the league’s app was No. 1 on Google Play and No. 2 in the Apple Store.

He didn’t mention San Antonio's defunct Toros, Wings, Charros, Gunslingers, Riders, Texans or Matadors, all but forgotten in the alphabet soup (WLAF, USFL, AFA, etc.) of failed football leagues.

None of those teams seemed relevant to what went on Saturday night, when a mostly full lower bowl in the Alamodome (no tickets were sold for the upper decks) went mad for all the pregame trappings of pro football: ugly green fake turf, a massive American flag for the anthem, a William Barret Travis-type guy on a galloping horse and pyrotechnics.

Also, a massive Lone Star flag. Because Texas.

"That was a great atmosphere,” said the league’s other co-founder, longtime NFL executive Bill Polian. “I got a bunch of texts from friends and one captured it best. He said 'Wow!'"

There were some refreshing twists to the AAF brand of football, which does aim to complement, not compete with, the NFL.

Its rule differences meant there were no boiler-plate kickoffs, no near-automatic extra point kicks and no lengthy television timeouts. Also, there were no scantily-clad cheerleaders. In their place: a female on-field official, side judge Robin DeLorenzo, and three female assistant coaches elsewhere in the league.

“I’d just like to be a story of growth,” Ebersol said. “I think that’s what we laid the groundwork for.”

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