Adios AAF. You’ll never be forgotten

By Jose M. Romero, Somos Sports co-founder/editor

Photo by Emily Wirtz

The last paycheck came via courier on Friday. And with that, my time with the Alliance of American Football was officially over.

It hurt. I wasn’t even officially employed by the team more than four months. But they were four great months, from the excitement of the first team meetings and practice in Arizona to my three weeks in San Antonio for training camp, to the regular season and the high quality of play.

And so many moments to remember. Places I visited. Road trips. Getting to know people.

There will be so much more to say one day. The story of the Arizona Hotshots and my time with them as team reporter needs to be told.

People need to know who these coaches and players and front office people were and are. They need to know the team’s president and marketing director, operations director and business side folks. We all have stories. We all believed in this product and this league and … well, we got our hearts ripped out from us.

That’s putting it sort of mildly.

I have read countless stories and accounts and heard interviews and read more tweets about the fall of the AAF than I can recall. The AAF website is down, in its place a statement that honestly doesn’t do much to make anyone employed by the league feel any better.

But no one can ever take away what this was. A good brand of football. Innovative rules. Caring people, some already long into their careers and given a chance to get back into a daily routine, like myself, and others just getting their first taste of working in sports.

I’m not sure what stage of grief I am in about the end of the league. I’m past denial, because it only took a moment to realize it was really over, given how sudden the end came. Anger? Yeah I could say I’m angry it happened, because it didn’t have to.

Depression – it comes and goes when I think about the good times and the laughs, which far outweigh the occasional stress of the AAF constantly being adaptable, adjustable and flexible for all of us.

Acceptance – Sure. It’s been four days and I accept that I have no practice to go to, no game to cover, no charter plane to catch, no interviews to do. What else can you do?

In the end, I’m going to be fine. I appreciate the many people who reached out to see if I was OK. It’s important to know that this, like everything else in life, is about people.