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The United States Football League will kick off its inaugural season in just over 24 hours.
The league will have eight teams divided into two divisions and the season will span 10 weeks starting April 16 and ending July 3 with the USFL Championship.
The USFL will be a bit different from the traditional NFL games fans see during the fall and winter, but will fill a void in football while the NFL and college football are in their off seasons.
Read below for everything football fans need to know about the USFL.
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What are the teams?
The North Division includes the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars and Pittsburgh Maulers. The South Division includes the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers and Tampa Bay Bandits.
Who are the coaches?
The list of coaches was finalized in January.
Jeff Fisher will coach the Panthers, Larry Fedora will coach the Breakers, Skip Holtz will coach the Stallions, Todd Haley will coach the Bandits, Kirby Wilson will coach the Maulers, Kevin Sumlin will coach the Gamblers, Bart Andrus will coach the Stars and Mike Riley will coach the Generals.
Who are some of the best players?
The USFL talent crop entering the league has plenty of NFL experience.
Former NFL players include Paxton Lynch, Eli Rogers, Elijah Westbrooks and Donald Payne to name a few. Former XFL stars Jordan Ta’amu and Luis Perez are also in the league.
Click here to learn more about Talent Harvesting.
Are there any new rules to know?
Yes. The USFL will add a unique twist to the traditional rules of modern football.
Teams scoring a touchdown will have three options for extra points. A team could choose to go for one, two or three points after the score.
For one point, a team could kick a field goal from 15 yards. For two points, a team should cross the goal line from the 2 meter line. For three points, a team can attempt to score from the 10-yard line.
The USFL says all replays will take place from the FOX Sports Control Center in Los Angeles. Each coach will be given a replay challenge.
“The USFL Replay Command will have the authority to overrule improper personal fouls, including passer roughing, hitting defenseless players, face masks, horse collars and more,” the league said in a statement. A press release. “The USFL Replay Command will also be responsible for determining whether the act of pass interference is obviously intentional when it occurs 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.”
The USFL says it is looking to make kickoffs safer. All kickoffs will be taken from the 25 yard line and no member of the kicking team is permitted to line up further than the 1 yard line. The receiving team must have at least eight players between its 35 and 45 yard lines.
“After a kick-off has traveled 20 yards, the first touch must be by the receiving team. If an untouched kick becomes dead, the ball belongs to the receiving team at that spot”, the league said.
Kicking in play or scrum play
To promote more goals, teams will have two options to potentially keep the ball after scoring. The team could go for an onside kick. The second option is to run a 4-and-12 play from their own 33-yard line. If the team takes a first down, it retains possession; if unsuccessful, the defense recovers the ball.
Overtime will be a best-of-three shootout. Every infraction will try to score from the 2 meter line and every successful play will result in two points. The team with the most points after three games will be the winner. All subsequent attempts will become a sudden death if the score is tied after each team has made three plays, with the period extending until there is a winner.
TUBERVILLE EXCITED FOR USFL START, OFFERS ADVICE TO PLAYERS LOOKING FOR A SHOT AT THE PROS
The USFL will prevent Gunners from lining up outside of numbers, and they cannot be blocked by a double team until the ball is kicked.
The clock will stop on first downs within two minutes of the second and fourth quarters, as per NCAA rules.
Offensive: “If a pass does not cross the line of scrimmage, there can be no pass interference or ineligible player penalties,” the USFL said.
Defensive: “The penalty for defensive pass interference will mirror the NCAA rule with exceptions. First, a defender intentionally tackling a receiver beyond 15 yards would become a point foul. Additionally, the penalty will be a point foul if it occurs 15 yards or less from the line of scrimmage or a 15-yard penalty from the line of scrimmage if the spot of foul is beyond 15 yards,” the league says.
Two passes forward
The USFL will allow two forward passes from behind the line of scrimmage.
When does the season start?
The first game of the season is Saturday night between the Generals and the Stallions at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The season ends July 3 with the USFL Championship Game. View the full program here.
Where will regular season games be played?
All of its regular season games in the league’s first season will be played in Birmingham, Alabama at Protective Stadium and Legion Field.
How much will the tickets cost?
General admission for each game is $10 and kids get in free. Premium general admission tickets are $25. Premium general admission seats are located between the 30 meter lines at the opposite end of the club seats at the protective stadium.
Times and matchups for games at Legion Field have not been determined.
When do the playoffs start?
The USFL playoffs and championship will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, which is located adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and can hold up to 20,000 spectators. It’s the same venue where the NFL holds its Hall of Fame Game to mark the start of the preseason each year.
The USFL four-team playoffs are scheduled to begin June 25 with the top two teams from the North Division and South Division battling it out for a championship spot on July 3.
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How can fans watch?
The season opener between the Generals and the Stallions will air on FOX and NBC, marking the first time two competing networks have hosted the same game since Super Bowl I.
Throughout the season, games will primarily be shown on FOX and FS1. Select games will also be seen on NBC, USA Network and Peacock. Click here for the full schedule.
FOX Sports will offer 22 of the 43 games with 12 games for FOX and 10 on FS1. NBC will have 21 games including nine on USA Network, eight on NBC and four on Peacock.