Teams will have 52 players on each roster, with some selected by a territorial draft. The territory assigned to a team consists of at least five colleges plus designated professional teams, one Canadian Football League, and four NFL teams, for those from Big Ten and the Big 12 conferences. Only one quarterback can be taken from their region. A quarterbacks-only "Protect or Pick" draft was conducted in November 2018 in which teams may retain their allocated quarterback or select an unprotected quarterback from another team.
Telecasts will feature no television timeouts and 60 percent fewer "full-screen commercials," with the league aiming for an approximate real-time game length of 150 minutes, down from just over 180 in the NFL. In turn, the AAF aims to charge more money for the remaining commercial slots, also alluding to product placement opportunities that do not interrupt the game telecast.
All teams must attempt two-point conversions after each touchdown; there will be no extra point kicks.
There will be no kickoffs; halves, odd overtime periods and after scores will begin on each team's own 25-yard line, the same as touchbacks in the NFL and NCAA. In lieu of an onside kick, a team can keep possession of the ball by attempting a scrimmage play from their own 28-yard line and gaining at least 12 yards. (The original proposal for this play had teams making a 10-yard play from the 35-yard line.)
The play clock will run only 35 seconds, five seconds shorter than in the NFL. (The league originally proposed a 30-second play clock, but Ebersol concluded that a clock that short would have negative impact on the quality of play.)
Two coach's challenges per team are the only replays; no challenges in last two minutes of either half nor any overtime period, as they are automatic.
Outside organizations will handle head-safety protocols.
In the event of a tie at the end of regulation, a single overtime period will be played, under the high school football rules of the "Kansas Playoff."
Each team will begin on their opponent's 10-yard line and be given one possession (four downs) to score. If the score remains tied after each team has been given their possession, the game ends in a tie.
Playoffs will consist of four teams, the top two teams from each conference.
Officiating will have a ninth member called a sky judge, an off-the-field official who reviews every play using technology like a booth review. The sky judge can call or take away penalties missed or made by the field officials.
Make sure you pledge your allegiance to a team:
- Atlanta Legends
- Birmingham Iron (my team)
- Memphis Express
- Orlando Apollos
- Arizona Hotshots
- Salt Lake Stallions
- San Antonio Commanders
- San Diego Fleet
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