SAN ANTONIO - Professional football is back in San Antonio and will be led by two familiar faces to fans in the Alamo City.
The Alliance of American Football announced on Wednesday that San Antonio would be its eighth franchise for the inaugural season.
The league held a press conference Thursday at City Hall with Mayor Ron Nirenberg to formally announce the new team.
Former Dallas Cowboys great Daryl “Moose” Johnston was named general manager of the team, and Mike Riley, who coached the San Antonio Riders in the early '90s, was named head coach.
“San Antonio has always been on the top of our list as a city that’s hungry for football, in a state that’s crazy about the game. We’re confident our commitment to putting high-quality football on the field, fueled by an alliance between fans, players and the game, will resonate with this community,” said Charlie Ebersol, co-founder and CEO of AAF. “The city of San Antonio is ready for a professional football team and we feel honored to be welcomed into their dynamic city.”
Alliance San Antonio will play its home games at the Alamodome. Nirenberg told KSAT on Wednesday there was no city funding involved in the arrangement.
San Antonio joins Orlando, Atlanta, Memphis, Salt Lake, Phoenix, San Diego and Birmingham as the other inaugural cities in the AAF.
“Early on in our process we identified markets that we felt would make ideal destinations for our first eight Alliance cities and San Antonio has always been part of that dialogue,” said Tom Veit, head of business operations for AAF.
Finding the right fit for front office positions was also key for the league in San Antonio.
Johnston was part of the Cowboys team that won Super Bowls in the early '90s. He is familiar with football in San Antonio and across the state. He said he would not have accepted a league executive position in any other city.
.@TheAAF CEO @CharlieEbersol said today #AllianceSA would have a traditional, real team name. He also explained how @Ron_Nirenberg helped SA land final franchise for inaugural season. Play begins Feb. 9. Daryl 'Moose' Johnston is GM, Mike Riley is HC #KSATnews #KSATsports pic.twitter.com/SiGRVxN4fD — RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) June 21, 2018
“There are so many talented athletes who are right on the cusp of making an NFL roster, but for one reason or another end up on a practice squad or out of football completely,” Johnston said. “We’re going to give them the chance to show the football world what they can do, that they do belong. A number of these guys are from the great state of Texas, where football is a way of life, and we look forward to having them in Alliance San Antonio uniforms.”
Riley said the time is now for another professional football team in San Antonio.
“I want to bring a championship to this football-hungry city, and I look forward to working closely with Daryl Johnston to build a championship caliber team,” said Riley. “This is a unique opportunity for myself and the players that will step on the field for Alliance San Antonio, and we intend on making the most of it.”
There have been several attempts in the past to bring professional football to San Antonio. Those leagues and franchises ultimately failed, but this group feels this is different.
“From top to bottom, The Alliance has assembled an impressive roster of successful, knowledgeable, highly credible executives and coaches. It’s indicative of the commitment The Alliance has to putting high-quality football on the field, and I’m proud to be a part of this,” said Riley.
“I am so impressed with the leadership that they have assembled, the vision that they have, the scheduling, the partnership that they're pursuing with the NFL, which is there,” said Nirenberg. “So this has all the earmarks of a very successful spring football league, the likes we haven't seen before, and an opportunity to really make it an institution."
The league will begin play in February 2019 and run through the end of April. Ticket pricing and seat locations for Alliance San Antonio home games will be released later this summer.
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