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A Steelers fan guide to the Alliance of American Football

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All the information you need to know to be ready for the debut of this new professional football league on Saturday.

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL may not be due return to the field until August, but there is still plenty of football to watch in the coming months thanks to a new professional football league set to begin play on Saturday. Founded by noted film and television producer Charlie Ebersol and former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian, the new Alliance of American Football league will feature eight teams playing a 12 week season.

Watch:

Broadcast contracts with CBS, NFL Network and TNT should mean that the games are available in most regions and the league’s mobile app will offer live streaming of all games, while B/R Live will also carry one game a week.

Rules:

Following a similar rules structure to the NFL, the AAF will still feature a few notable differences to the game fans have become used to.

  • There were be no TV timeouts and fewer full-screen commercial in attempt to reduce game time by around 30 minutes.
  • All teams must attempt a two-point conversions after a touchdown. There are no extra point kicks in the AAF.
  • There will be no kickoffs, with all possessions starting at the 25-yard line instead. In place of onside kicks, a team must convert a fourth-and-12 from their own 28-yard line in order to maintain possession of the ball or turn it over to their opponent.
  • The play clock has been reduced to 35 seconds.
  • In overtime, each team will be given the ball at their opponent’s 10-yard line and be given just one possession to score a touchdown and attempt a two-point conversion. Field goals are not allowed. The other team then gets the same chance and the game ends, regardless if it is still a tie.
  • An additional “Sky Judge” referee using real-time technology will correct any missed calls centered around player safety and can correct any pass interference called inside the final five minutes of the game.

Teams:

  • Arizona Hotshots
  • Atlanta Legends
  • Birmingham Iron
  • Memphis Express
  • Orlando Apollos
  • Salt Lake Stallions
  • San Antonio Commanders
  • San Diego Fleet

The Birmingham Iron and San Diego Fleet may have the best looking uniforms based on the initial publicity photographs.

But logo wise, the Iron remind me far too much of the Cleveland Browns.

Schedule:

Head coaches:

  • Arizona: Rick Neuheisel
  • Atlanta: Kevin Coyle
  • Birmingham: Tim Lewis
  • Memphis: Mike Singletary
  • Orlando: Steve Spurrier
  • Salt Lake: Dennis Erickson
  • San Antonio: Mike Riley
  • San Diego: Mike Martz

In addition to these familiar names in charge of each team, former Steelers safety Troy Polamalu will serve as the league’s Head of Player Relations and Hines Ward is the league’s Head of Development.

Players:

The AAF will also feature a number of players that Pittsburgh fans should recognize with several former Steelers under contract with all but one of the eight teams in the league.

Arizona Hotshots: LB Steven Johnson (Edit: Missed this one first time around)

Atlanta Legends: CB Dorian Grant

Birmingham Iron: WR L’Damian Washington, OT Larson Graham, DT Casey Sayles, DT Josh Frazier, DE Johnny Maxey, CB Jamar Summers, S Jacob Hagen

Memphis Express: QB Zach Mettenberger, RB Rajion Neal, DE Greg Gilmore, DB Malik Boynton, P Brad Wing

Orlando Apollos: TE Scott Orndoff, DE Giorgio Newberry, LB Terence Garvin

Salt Lake Stallions: None

San Antonio Commanders: QB Dustin Vaughan, RB David Cobb, RB Trey Williams, WR Demarcus Ayers, TE Cameron Clear, LB Darnell Leslie

San Diego Fleet: RB Terrell Watson, OT Brandon Hodges, LB Travis Feeney, CB Greg Ducre

Betting:

The season will run from Saturday, February 9 through Sunday, April, 14 with the top four teams in the league making the playoffs. The championship game will be held on Saturday, April 27 in Las Vegas.