Mike Singletary, the legendary linebacker for the Chicago Bears team that won the 1985 Super Bowl, was named as head coach of the Memphis franchise of the new Alliance of American Football on Thursday.
The new league will consist of eight teams and will begin play in February of 2019. The first season will be ten games long.
Bill Polian, a former executive in the NFL, and Charlie Ebersol, son of NBC TV executive Dick Ebersol, are co-founders of the league. CBS will broadcast the league’s games.
The Memphis franchise, which does not yet have a nickname, will play home games at the Liberty Bowl.
Former Florida and South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier was named earlier as the head coach of the new league’s Orlando franchise. Former Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, will be the head coach of the Atlanta franchise, where former NFL quarterback Michael Vick will be an assistant coach. Five more franchises will be announced in the coming months.
“The league sent its head of football operations, J.K. McKay, and Hines Ward, a former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and now an AAF executive, to Memphis for the formal announcement of Singletary as coach and former University of Memphis player Kosha Irby as the franchise’s team president,” The Memphis Daily News reported:
Singletary was last working in the NFL as an assistant coach in 2016. He was head coach of the San Francisco 49ers the second half of the 2008 season and all of 2009 and 2010 and compiled an 18-22 record.
“I jumped at this opportunity,” said Singletary, who is also expected to coach a high school football team in Texas this fall; training camp for the AAF won’t begin until January.
McKay says players probably won’t be signed until September and there are logistics to be worked out. He didn’t reveal a salary structure but said the league would have a minimum as part of its framework. The league also will have some provisions for what amounts to territorial rights that, for example, would give the Memphis franchise first right of refusal on U of M and University of Tennessee players.
“We want to recruit talent the community is familiar with, faces that you know, names that you know,” Singletary said. “That’s going to be a critical part of having success here.”
Vince McMahon, head of WWE wrestling, has announced that he will relaunch the XFL in February 2020.
After 50 years with monopoly control of professional football in the United States, the NFL will now face two competitors.
Kneeling by players during the national anthem, executives of both new leagues say, will not be allowed.