Meet San Diego’s Newest Professional Team: The Fleet
The Alliance of American Football, or AAF for short, is a brand new football league that will make its debut in February of 2019.
Created by a media producer and a Hall of Fame NFL executive, the AAF itself plans to operate like the NBA’s G-League: give players who are not ready to play at the NFL level an opportunity to one day achieve that reality.
Since the Chargers left San Diego, America’s Finest City has been pushed away from the professional football world. Now, with the AAF, San Diego will attempt to fill the gap left by the Chargers with their newest football team: The Fleet.
San Diego’s newest team will be coached by former NFL offensive coordinator and head coach Mike Martz. The 67-year-old Martz was the offensive coordinator, and then head coach, of the Rams when they were considered “the greatest show on turf”. The Fleet will be operated by general manager Dave Boller, a former Syracuse director of player personnel and NFL scout.
The AAF recently conducted a four-round, snake format quarterback draft where each team was able to either “protect” a quarterback with ties to their region or “pick” one from another market. The Fleet just so happened to have the first pick in the draft, where they chose to protect the Buccaneers former fifth-round pick and University of San Diego standout Josh Johnson.
An incredible athlete, Johnson was just recently signed by the Washington Redskins to be the backup to Mark Sanchez. Despite his NFL commitment, Johnson still fully plans to play with the Fleet come February 9th and should be the team’s starter come their first ever game.
Johnson is not the only former NFL player on the Fleet. Running backs Bishop Sankey and Terrell Watson both experienced some sort of playing time at the NFL level.
Sankey, a second-round pick out of Washington, started nine games for the Titans in 2014 as a dual-threat running back. In 152 carries, Sankey ran for 569 yards and two touchdowns while also catching 18 passes for 133 yards. His success did not last long, however, as Sankey was released from the Titans after the 2015 season and has not found stable success in the NFL since then.
Terrell Watson, an undrafted free agent out of Azusa Pacific College by the Bengals in 2015, also has a little bit of NFL experience. While Watson only has 14 NFL carries, his 240-pound frame and 4.5 speed open up some sort of hope that Watson can someday be something at the NFL level.
The Fleet will play a 10-game schedule, with five away games and five home games at SDCCU Stadium. San Diego will travel to and host San Antonio, Salt Lake, and Arizona while only playing one game against Atlanta, Memphis, and Orlando.
Their first game will be on February 9th against the San Antonio Commodores at the Alamodome, and with the AAF’s new CBS contract, the game should be easily accessible for a great majority of people to watch.
This new football league should provide some level of excitement to a city that desperately needs an identity in the professional football world. With the Fleet here to stay, expect more news coverage on the team in the coming months.
Diego works at Prep Baseball Report as an Area Scout in Illinois and Missouri. He graduated this spring with a Bachelor Degree in Communications and played four years of college baseball, logging nearly 50 innings of work in a relief role. Diego hopes to work in an MLB front office one day and has been a Padres fan since he was six years old.