Professional football could be returning to San Diego, and Mike Martz is coaching it

Mike Martz is bringing his Super Bowl-winning offense to the Alliance of American Football. (AP)
Mike Martz is bringing his Super Bowl-winning offense to the Alliance of American Football. (AP)

Professional football could be on its way back to San Diego just two years after it left: The Los Angeles Chargers’ former home is being linked to as a likely home in the eight-team Alliance of American Football, per the San Diego Union-Tribune. The creator of The Greatest Show on Turf, Mike Martz, will be leading it.

What is the Alliance of American Football?

Two months ago, Charlie Ebersol, son of NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol, announced the creation of the AAF. It will start the weekend after the 2019 Super Bowl, and it will run for 10 weeks. Four teams will qualify for the playoffs, and the championship will air on the weekend of April 26-28, 2019.

The teams will field 50 players, most of them college standouts who did not get drafted or other former high-level players looking for a second chance.

“There are 28,000 Division I football players. Only 1,700 have NFL jobs,” Charlie Ebersol told ESPN. “We’re looking for those Kurt Warners working in grocery stores, and we think we will find them.”

The league will feature no TV timeouts, fewer commericals and no kickoffs (teams start on their own 25), making games significantly shorter than NFL games.

The Alliance certainly isn’t short on recognizable names: Former Colts Hall-of-Fame GM Bill Polian will serve as Head of Football, and former Steelers superstar Troy Polamalu will serve as Head of Player Relations. Other former players in the league office include J.K. McKay, Hines Ward, Jared Allen and Justin Tuck.

Peter Thiel and the Chernin Group are two of the league’s most prominent financial backers. CBS will be a broadcast partner, and streaming will be available through the league’s app. There is also a fantasy football component of the game on its way.

Mike Martz will lead San Diego’s team

Martz, who won a Super Bowl as the Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator and went to the Super Bowl as their head coach, is expected to coach Alliance San Diego, per the Union-Tribune. The 67-year-old went to high school in San Diego. Recently, he has coached at the pre-NFL-draft NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.

Martz will be joining an impressive list of head coaching names that have been assembled by the league in the months since it formed:

  • Former Vikings coach Brad Childress (Alliance Atlanta)

  • Former Hall of Fame Bears linebacker and former 49ers coach Mike Singletary (Alliance Memphis)

  • Former Florida, Washington Redskins and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier (Alliance Orlando)

  • Former Colorado, Washington and UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel (Alliance Phoenix)

  • Former Miami (FL), Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Arizona State (among others) coach Dennis Erickson (Alliance Salt Lake)

The league still has two locations (assuming San Diego gets a team, as all signs have indicated) to announce to complete the eight-team league.

The team will play in San Diego County Credit Union Stadium

The Union-Tribune reports the team will play at the Chargers’ former home, San Diego County Credit Union Stadium (formerly Qualcomm Stadium) where the Chargers played from 1967 to 2016. The stadium is currently the home for San Diego State’s football team as well as the Holiday Bowl.

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