The Alliance of American Football kicks off tonight on CBS. Football fans will notice some big differences between the new AAF league and the NFL, including the rules of the game.
Here are a few big differences between the leagues...
• There will be no kickoffs or extra point attempts (PATs), so apparently placekickers need not apply. To open each half and after scores, teams will start drives at their own 25-yard line. Following touchdowns, teams must attempt a two-point conversion.
• The play clock will be 35 seconds, five seconds shorter than the NFL.
• On defense, teams can only rush five players. Any player that lines up on the line of scrimmage is designated as one of the five eligible pass rushers, regardless of whether they rush or not. Defensive players must be within two yards outside the widest offensive lineman (presumably a tackle) and five yards from the line of scrimmage. The exceptions would be play-action or run-pass option plays and if the ball leaves the tackle box. Any violation of these rules is considered "illegal defense" and will result in a 15-yard penalty.
• No onisde kicks are allowed. There is an opportunity for a team to retain possession after a score. In that situation, the team with the ball will start at its own 28 and have one down to get at least 12 yards. The only time this can be attempted is if that team is trailing by 17 points or more, or if it is behind within the final five minutes of the game.
• Following a safety, if the team scored upon wants to try to retain possession, the ball will be placed at the 18 and it will have one down to get at least 12 yards.
• In overtime the ball will start on the 10-yard line and the team with possession will have four downs and must go for two if they score (field goals not allowed). If the game is still tied after two overtime periods it will end as a tie.
• There will be a three-minute break between the first and second quarters, as well as the third and fourth quarters. There will be a 13-minute break for halftime.
• Game telecasts will feature no television timeouts and significantly fewer (reported 60 percent) commercials, as the AAF's goal is an approximate real-time game length of around 150 minutes. NFL averages more than 180 minutes.
• There will be an extra referee assigned to every seven-man crew. The "sky judge" will be located in the press box and will have access to real-time technology to review every play. Besides having the ability to correct "obvious and egregious" officiating errors, including overturning called penalties or insituitng missed ones, the sky judge also will have authority over matters involving player safety.