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Salk: NFL needs to adopt Alliance of American Football-style replay

The Alliance of American Football kicked off Feb. 9. (AP)

Bill Polian and Charlie Ebersol’s Alliance of American Football league kicked off its inaugural season this past weekend and 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard and Mike Salk were pretty impressed with the quality and entertainment level of the NFL alternative.

Everything you need to know about Alliance of American Football

The pair weren’t alone; the CBS broadcast Saturday evening brought in 2.9 million viewers. That doesn’t touch the ratings for an NFL contest, which averages about 15 million viewers, but it did surpass the ratings of the NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.

The weekend’s lineup started with a bang – literally. A blindside hit on current San Diego Fleet quarterback (and former Arizona State Sun Devil) Mike Bercovici quickly made the rounds on Twitter.

The weekend included a few more highlights, including a pick six from former Seahawk and current Orlando Apollos linebacker Terence Garvin.

“I think it’s a very positive first step. And I don’t know if I completely agree with (former Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles executive) Joe Banner,” Huard said Monday morning. “Banner said, ‘Eh, bad product, bad quarterbacks. You’re going to see maybe the first weekend because of intrigue rated pretty highly and then a precipitous fall in ratings.’ I don’t know if I quite buy that completely.

“Because this is done differently than the XFL (in 2001). This is trying to be done on more substance than just simply hype, as the XFL was done the first time around.”

But with no stars, how long will curious NFL fans tune in? That’s ultimately Banner’s argument, and Huard’s co-host Mike Salk thinks he has a point.

“These are not going to be bad offensive lines like in the (NFL) preseason, because you’re not allowed to blitz, that’s going to help them,” Huard countered. “As far as bad quarterbacks go, you know what, I’m sure Joe Banner said the same thing about NFL Europe. And you know who was in NFL Europe? NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner.”

‘They got replay right’

Salk believes there’s one thing the NFL can take from the AAF: more transparent replay.

“They got a few things right, and No. 1 is the NFL needs to adopt that review official mic cam immediately,” Salk said. “Why are (NFL audiences) listening to Phil Simms and Jim Nantz, or whoever it is this year, bumbling back and forth even though they have no idea what the call is going to be? Why not let us hear the replay official talk to the guy on the field and let us hear what they’re discussing and see the replays they see?”