For those out there who have boycotted the NFL due to the National Anthem protests, you will have even more opportunities to watch professional football in the next two years with yesterday’s announcement of yet another league taking the field (in addition to the XFL’s return in 2020). The Alliance of American Football will actually beat the Vince McMahon-led league with a February 9, 2019 kickoff planned.
And there will be a number of familiar names to come with the Alliance, as it requested to be known as opposed to AAF. Charlie Ebersol – son of original XFL partner Dick Ebersol of NBC – is the point man and also directed the XFL episode on ESPN’s “30-for-30” series. The younger Ebersol also brought on longtime NFL general manager Bill Polian, former Pittsburgh Steelers standouts Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward, former New York Giants Super Bowl-winning defensive lineman Justin Tuck and J.M. McKay, known for his days as an executive at USC.
There will be eight league-owned teams playing a 10-game regular season schedule from February through April, then a four-team playoff culminating with a prime time championship game televised by the CBS. The league opener will also be aired on the same network in prime time, and once chosen game every week will be on the CBS Sports Network during the day. The rest of the schedule will broadcast on the league’s app, a “digital platform that will engage fans in a way that’s never been done before,” Ebersol said at a press conference referring to the league’s wanting to integrate the fantasy football aspect.
“Fifty-nine million people play fantasy and 20 million people play only fantasy football,” added Ebersol. “We have to be able to take advantage of the people who just stop playing fantasy when the NFL season ends.”
Each roster will consist of 50 players and cities will be announced in the next three months.
Here are some of the different rules that the Alliance will implement:
*No TV timeouts – something that can be extremely annoying for those in attendance at the stadium.
*60% fewer commercials – good for the fans; not so good for the league’s advertisement income.
*No kickoffs – the ball will be placed at the 25-yard line. This is obviously in place to eliminate potential injuries occurring on kick offs.
*No onside kicks – the team trailing will receive the ball at their own 35-yard line facing a fourth down and 10. Same reason; to avoid potential injuries.
*No PAT – all conversions will be of the two-point variety. Makes it more exciting and lightening the load even more for place kickers, who will only be making field goal attempts with these rules.
*30-second play clock – this will quicken the overall time of the game and benefit the offenses, who will be in a ‘no huddle’ situation more than usual and keeping tiring defenders on the field more.