October 17, 2018
By: Kristi Fulkerson
Chris Thompson’s living the life of a typical football coach. Working at his craft to move on and move up. After a 40-27 record in seven seasons with the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, Thompson resigned as head coach last November to join the Arena Football League. He spent the 2018 season as the Offensive Coordinator for the Albany Empire, finishing 8-4 and atop the league in the regular season. For the time being, Chris will leave the arena game and head back outdoors. His next stop will be in Georgia where the PA native will serve as Director of Football Operations for the Atlanta Legends of the brand-new Alliance of American Football. 

The newly formed AAF was founded by producer Charlie Ebersol and former NFL GM/ESPN analyst Bill Polian, and has garnered support from several other big-name NFL greats and executives. Thompson calls it an ‘awesome opportunity’ and can’t wait to get started. He expects to head south to Atlanta any day now and will do a little bit of everything for the Legends' franchise, which is headed up by GM Billy Devaney and President David Livingston. Thompson will work on recruiting, player personnel, and will do so alongside head coach Brad Childress, the former Minnesota Vikings boss. Former QB Michael Vick will be the team’s Offensive Coordinator. The goal of the newest pro football league is to become a minor league operation of sorts for the NFL, helping players reach their goals of playing at the game’s highest level.  

Targeting football lovers during the NFL off-season, the AAF launches in February and released it’s inaugural 10-week regular season schedule Tuesday. Atlanta opens Saturday, February 9, 2019 against Orlando and will play all home games at Turner Field, where the Atlanta Braves spent more than 30 years. The AAF will be composed of eight teams, four will make playoffs, and all games will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. According to the league website, the playing rules will differ in several ways from the NFL, including a shorter play clock, fewer ad breaks, required 2-point conversion attempts after touchdowns, plus the league will eliminate kickoffs (w/ offensive possessions starting at the 25 yard line) and onside kicks (with the trailing team receiving the ball on their own 35 yard line, facing fourth down and 10). 

Best of luck to Coach Thompson in his new endeavor down south!