ARIZONA HOTSHOTS

Arizona Hotshots GM Phil Savage happy to see AAF come to life

Feb 13, 2019, 11:41 AM
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)...
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona Hotshots general manager Phil Savage knew he had to team up with head coach Rick Neuheisel as soon as he found out they would both be involved in the Alliance of American Football.

Savage and Neuheisel have the Hotshots in a great spot in the league’s inaugural season with a 1-0 record after beating the Salt Lake Stallions 38-22 on Sunday and ranked first in the USA Today’s AAF power rankings.

“To see our team come to life here over last six weeks or so and then go out and win a game, it was super exciting,” Savage told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “We’ll see if we can keep the momentum going but we like our team.”

Savage and Neuheisel worked together at UCLA in 1990 and the chemistry between the two has led to instantaneous success.

“I said look, ‘I want to do this, but only if you’re the coach,’ and he said, ‘Well I want to do it but only if you’re the GM,'” Savage said.

The duo has assembled one of the most powerful teams in the league.

“(Quarterback) John Wolford, a virtual no-name to most fans,” Savage said. “You saw our offensive staff wrap a system, an offensive philosophy, around him and he showcased himself to the tune of four touchdown passes and 275 yards. So we think he’s really going to play well and we think Rick has a lot to do with that.”

Savage also sees a passion in his team that has resembled the product on the field.

“Every single guy on our team has been cut, fired, released, traded or told ‘you’re not good enough,'” he said. “So there’s a real humbleness to our team, a real hunger from these guys that want to prove they deserve another chance to go to the NFL.”

Savage’s experience with the NFL Draft

As the former general manager of the Cleveland Browns and the former executive director of the Senior Bowl, Savage has had his hand in the NFL Draft process from multiple points of view.

With Arizona’s local NFL team holding the No. 1 overall pick, there has been a lot of speculation as to what direction the Cardinals will go.

The link between new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, who recently declared his intent to play football instead of baseball, has only fueled that speculation.

“Now you have the agent world, plus you have the media world. There’s no doubt you can reach out to one of your friends in the media and say, ‘Hey pop this out there, help us out a little bit,’ and they’ll do it,” Savage said. “To create a little bit of the smoke about, ‘Hey we’re going to take this player, we’re interested in that guy.'”

Arizona Hotshots

Rashad Ross enters the field for the Arizona Hotshots (Sarah Kezele/Twitter)...
Logan Newman

Former Hotshot WR Rashad Ross reportedly to sign with Panthers

After the AAF folded and allowed players to speak to NFL teams, former Arizona Hotshots and Cardinals WR Rashad Ross reportedly agreed to join the Panthers.
3 years ago
(Facebook photo | The Alliance of American Football)...
Haboob Blog

Mike Bercovici might be a part of the AAF’s most memorable play ever

The AAF might be done, and former ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici holds a weird place in the brief Alliance of American Football league's history.
3 years ago
Arizona Hotshots quarterback John Wolford throws down field against the Salt Lake Stallions in the ...
Kevin Zimmerman

AAF, Arizona Hotshots cease football operations

The Alliance of American Football (AAF) will cease operations on Tuesday, though whether it will leads to the first-year league folding remains to be seen.
3 years ago
(Photo: Alliance of American Football)...
Danny Shapiro

Former ASU receiver Rashad Ross continues to shine with Hotshots

Ross caught a 58-yard touchdown in the Arizona Hotshots' 23-6 win over San Antonio on Sunday, his league-best seventh touchdown of the season.
3 years ago
Rashad Ross enters the field for the Arizona Hotshots (Sarah Kezele/Twitter)...
Danny Shapiro

Arizona Hotshots defeat San Diego for second straight win

The Arizona Hotshots (4-3) are again over .500 after defeating the San Diego Fleet, 32-15, on Sunday at Sun Devil Stadium.
3 years ago
Rashad Ross enters the field for the Arizona Hotshots (Sarah Kezele/Twitter)...
Danny Shapiro

Former ASU receiver Rashad Ross shining with Arizona Hotshots

It's been a rough go recently for the Arizona Hotshots, but former ASU receiver Rashad Ross has continued his strong performances.
3 years ago
Arizona Hotshots GM Phil Savage happy to see AAF come to life