Most football fans were pretty upset when the Patriots won their third Superbowl in the last five years and were even more saddened when they realized that it was also the last taste of the sport until the NFL preseason resumes in August.
Fear not football fans because just when you thought there was not going to be any football for the next six months, along comes the Alliance of American Football (AAF).
What is now being referred to as the NFL’s new developmental league since the Euro League was dissolved, former NFL, CFL, and college football players now have an opportunity to continue their playing careers as well as showcase their abilities for any league scouts.
In the first game of the inaugural season of the league former Carolina Panthers’ backup quarterback Garrett Gilbert and former NFL journeyman linebacker Terrance Garvin gave those who decided to tune in and get their first post Superbowl football fix in the Orlando Apollo’s 40-6 victory on Feb.9 in the most exciting AAF game of the opening weekend.
Gilbert saw his last bit of NFL action in the Panthers’ 2018 season finale against the New Orleans Saints, where he finished 2-of-3 for just 40 yards. In his first start for the Apollo’s, he played like a seasoned vet from the second quarter on, finishing with 227 passing yards, two touchdowns and was named Offensive Player of the Game.
He even hauled in a reception for a touchdown on a play that was identical to “Philly Special” made famous by the Philadelphia Eagles in Superbowl LII (52). Gilbert found himself wide open for the score after a reverse and a pass from the motion man coming from the opposite side of the field.
His touchdown pass to former Jet receiver Jalen Marshall was a thing of absolute beauty as delivered a dime down the seam to his receiver who high pointed the ball and came down with it in the back of the end zone for the first touchdown in AAF history. It was initially ruled an incomplete pass but upon further review was overturned after review officials deemed Marshall got both feet down and completed the catch.
Garvin had an exceptional day at the linebacker spot in this game as he was flying around making plays all over the field as he led an Orlando defense that allowed just two field goals and harassed Legends’ quarterback Matt Simms all night. He finished with two interceptions, a touchdown and what would have been a sack had it not been nullified by a penalty.
Garvin’s first pick came thanks to some deception when he faked as if he was going to blitz the left side of the offensive line before he dropped right into the throwing lane of Simms intended receiver that was coming across from the right side of the line.
His second came as a result of being in the right place at the right time when he corralled a bobbled pass that bounced off the outstretched hands of the intended receiver and he raced to the end zone for the 51-yard score.
This isn’t quite the NFL but for all, you football junkies that don’t care too much for basketball and dread the dead months until the preseason there will still be games played for the foreseeable future and the AAF is where it’s at.