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The San Diego Fleet was a professional American football team based in San Diego, California, and one of the charter members of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). The league began play in February 2019, with the team playing its home games at SDCCU Stadium.[1] They were coached by former NFL head coach Mike Martz.[1] The team was one of the two professional football teams playing in San Diego, along with the San Diego Strike Force of the Indoor Football League, and the first since the former San Diego Chargers moved to Los Angeles in 2017.[2]

San Diego Fleet
Current season
Established 2018
Folded 2019
Played in SDCCU Stadium
in San Diego, California
San Diego Fleet logo
League/conference affiliations
Alliance of American Football (2019)
  • Western Conference (2019)
Team colorsBattleship Gray, Gray, Yellow, White
                   
Personnel
PresidentJeff Garner
General managerDave Boller
Head coachMike Martz
Team history
  • San Diego Fleet (2019)
Championships
League championships (0)
Conference championships (0)
Division championships (0)
Home arena(s)

In April 2019 the league suspended football operations and allowed players to break their contracts. On April 17 the league filed for bankruptcy, cutting the season short and putting all eight teams out of business, since under the AAF organizational plan all teams were funded by the central organization.[3]

Contents

HistoryEdit

The Alliance San Diego team and head coach, Mike Martz, was announced by the Alliance of American Football on May 29, 2018.[1] Early reports had Rick Neuheisel coaching the team before he instead agreed to take the coaching job in Phoenix.[4] Alliance San Diego's name, logo and colors were revealed on September 25, 2018, as the San Diego Fleet (battleship gray, yellow and silver gray) along with the other three western teams. The name indicates the city's ties to the United States Navy.[2]

The team pays $25,000 per game in rent to use SDCCU Stadium and covers an additional $160,000 per game in other game-related expenses the city incurs.[5]

The Fleet held the first-overall pick in the league's 2019 AAF QB Draft,[6] which was used to protect Josh Johnson.[7] Johnson, who signed with the NFL's Washington Redskins before the end of the 2018 season, never played for the Fleet.[8] The final 52-man roster was set on January 30.[9]

Dre Bly, who had played cornerback for Martz with the St. Louis Rams, was originally slated to coach defensive backs, but stepped down to take a similar position at the University of North Carolina.[10] Former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna was also announced as the team's offensive coordinator in June 2018.[11] However, he did not coach a game for the Fleet as he was hired by the Dallas Cowboys in January 2019 to become their quarterbacks coach.[12]

The team's first game was a loss at the Alamodome against the San Antonio Commanders on Saturday, February 9, 2019, with the game broadcast live on CBS.[13] The Fleet won its first three home games before enthusiastic crowds and was third in attendance among the eight-team league.[14]

On April 2, 2019, the Alliance for American Football suspended football operations,[15][16] and on April 4 the league allowed players to leave their contracts to sign with NFL teams.[17] The effect was to cancel the final two regular season games and the scheduled post-season playoffs.[14] The Fleet athletes and coaches, who were in Orlando getting ready for a game against the Orlando Apollos, suddenly "found themselves paying their own hotel bills and buying their own plane tickets home."[3]

The league filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on April 17, 2019.[18] The Fleet's final record for the abbreviated season was 3-5.

Allocation poolEdit

MediaEdit

On February 7, 2019, the Fleet announced that KLSD and KOGO would be the team's flagship radio stations.[20] Jon Schaeffer handled play-by-play with former Charger Rich Ohrnberger doing color commentary. KOGO also airs in greater L.A..[21]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Krasovic, Tom. "AAF confirms San Diego is getting football team; what should it call itself?". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b Benjamin, Cody (September 25, 2018). "LOOK: Here's a full list of team names and logos from the Alliance of American Football". CBSSports.com. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Curlee, Doug (May 10, 2019). "The Fleet's fleeting success in San Diego". Mission Times Courier. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Rick Neuheisel: "Nothing has been finalized" with coaching return". Pro Football Talk. April 10, 2018. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Schrotenboer, Brent (February 18, 2019). "Pro football returns to San Diego: Here's what it's like at an AAF Fleet game". USA Today. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  6. ^ Scott, Dana (October 31, 2018). "Alliance of American Football league to hold 'Protect or Pick' quarterback draft". AZ Central. USA Today Network. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  7. ^ Wilson, Ryan (November 27, 2018). "Alliance of American Football QB Draft: Aaron Murray, Christian Hackenberg highlight QBs taken". CBSSports.com. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  8. ^ "Redskins Sign Josh Johnson, Three Others; Place Quinton Dunbar, Trey Quinn And Jonathan Cooper On Injured Reserve". Redskins.com. December 5, 2018.
  9. ^ "San Diego Fleet sets final roster". Alliance of American Football. January 30, 2019. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  10. ^ "New coach Dré Bly, a former star cornerback, remembers his UNC 'rude boy' days (it's a mindset)". Charlotte News & Observer. December 11, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  11. ^ Crabtree, Curtis (June 1, 2018). "San Diego AAF team to have coaching staff filled with NFL names". Profootballtalk.com. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  12. ^ "Cowboys to hire Jon Kitna as quarterbacks coach". ESPN. January 20, 2019. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  13. ^ "Alliance of American Football schedule released for Arizona Hotshots, other 7 teams". AZ Central. USA Today Network. October 16, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Krasovic, Tom (April 2, 2019). "Alliance of American Football pulls the plug, taking San Diego Fleet down with it". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  15. ^ Kercheval, Ben (April 2, 2019). "AAF operations suspended, league's future in doubt after eight games of first season". cbssports.com. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
  16. ^ "AAF to immediately suspend operations". ESPN. April 2, 2019. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  17. ^ Schwartz, Nick (April 4, 2019). "AAF star Keith Reaser becomes first player to sign NFL deal after league shutdown". USA Today. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  18. ^ "AAF files for bankruptcy, officially closes down", USA Today, AP, April 17, 2019, retrieved April 17, 2019
  19. ^ Inabinett, Mark (July 12, 2018). "Alabama, Auburn players to go on Birmingham AAF team's assignment list". AL.com. Alabama Media Group. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  20. ^ Goldberg, Jeff (February 6, 2019). "XTRA 1360 to be Fleet's flagship station in 2019". aaf.com. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  21. ^ "Fleet and IHeartMedia Announce Flagship Agreement". Our Sports Central. February 7, 2019. Retrieved February 10, 2019.

Further readingEdit