Carson Caulfield, Staff Writer
The Birmingham Iron have started off their first season in the brand new American Alliance of Football (AAF) league with a 3-0 record. The AAF has gifted the city of Birmingham with a much needed football franchise, and Birmingham natives have already pledged their allegiance to the Iron.
What exactly has made this team so popular in its early stages? Who would want to watch a professional football league comprised of lesser talent, budget, and history? The answer is simple. This city, and others like it, loves football.
The Iron, and the AAF as a whole, has done an incredible job with bringing attention to themselves. Seven out of the eight teams are in cities without an NFL team, which brings in an audience of team-deprived football fans. Birmingham, specifically, has needed a professional team for quite some time now. The city lies in between two extremely large college football bases, Alabama and Auburn, but does not house a power-five conference NCAA or professional team. In fact, there is no other city in the world that has a higher weekly viewing of college football than Birmingham. This city needed some form of a team, and a 3-0 start is just rolling in more and more new fans.
“It was an incredible experience,” said Samford freshman Hudson Beaudry, who attended the inaugural game last week. “Watching the crowd come together to cheer for this new team, despite having both Alabama and Auburn players on the roster, was something to see. Those fans craved football, and the Iron delivered.”
The Iron have put on quite an impressive marketing campaign to start off the season. This campaign; however, does not just exist off the field. College football fans absolutely love seeing their former players prosper after college. There is a whopping 10 former Crimson Tide players on the Iron roster and five former Auburn Tigers. The two most notable former college stars on the team are quarterback Blake Sims and running back Trent Richardson, who both played together under Nick Saban. In fact, the first touchdown of Birmingham Iron history was a handoff to Richardson from Sims, who came off the bench for this one play. Was this planned? Alabama to Alabama for the franchise’s first touchdown? That can’t be proven, but it sure got Roll Tiders talking.
Samford junior Delaney Craig is working with the Iron Gameday Operations and Promotions Team this season. Craig noted from her time spent with the team, “The spirit of the crowds we have seen at Legion Field have blown me away. I guess I had anticipated it to be a little harder to get fans excited about something so new and unknown to them. But so far, fan enthusiasm is the least of our concerns.”
The Birmingham Iron will look to improve to 4-0 and resume their undefeated season this Saturday at Legion Field against the San Antonio Commanders at 3 p.m. The game can be viewed on the CBS Sports Network.