Even when there appears to be no more football left to be played, Steve Spurrier isn’t done battling.
The former Florida Gators coach, currently head coach of the Orlando Apollos of the Alliance of American Football, lobbied for his team to be declared champions after AAF co-founder Bill Polian announced today that the league is suspending all operations.
“We’re all disappointed, but on the other side, we’ve got to be the champs, right?” Spurrier told WFTV in Orlando. “We’re 7-1, and the next teams are 5-3.”
The Apollos, whose roster included more than two dozen players from in-state schools such as Florida, Florida State, Miami, UCF, USF, FIU and others, went 7-1, two games better than the Birmingham Iron, Arizona Hotshots and San Antonio Commanders. Their 236 points scored were 50 more than the second-closest team.
“We put in like any other team,” Spurrier said. “We didn’t work harder than the other teams. We just happened to win more games. I’m not one of those coaches who wants to talk about how hard we worked and we did all this, that and the other. But the players had wonderful attitudes, and the effort level that they played with has been very rewarding for me and the coaching staff.
"We started the season wanting to win the Alliance championship, and if if they declare a champ, hopefully these guys will be declared the champ, because they certainly are deserving.”
Spurrier said everyone was sorry to hear the news of the league’s apparent demise, which comes eight games into a scheduled 10-week inaugural season. Playoffs, including an April 27 championship game, had been scheduled for later this month.
“Some of us didn’t get into the Alliance to try to advance our careers," he said. “But the players, I’m more disappointed for the players that believe, ‘This is my chance to show people of this, that and the other that I can play this game,’ and a lot of them will get opportunities. They’ve shown enough. But, yeah, sad to end this way.”