AAF Rules: How Does the Alliance of American Football Work?

alliance of american football

Getty Mike Singletary will coach the Memphis Express.

The Alliance of American Football league is marketing its new league as a continuation of NFL football, but there are some real differences when it comes to the AAF rules. Unlike football leagues that have preceded them, the AAF’s game will look similar to the NFL with a few exceptions.

The first thing fans will notice is the lack of kickoffs. There will be no kickoffs in AAF games which is an effort to increase player safety while decreasing the length of games.

Former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira is a rules consultant for the new league. Pereira explained why the league decided not to have the traditional kickoff.

“We were all looking around saying, ‘Does anyone miss kickoffs?’ The answer was, no, we did not miss them,” Pereira explained to Fox Sports. “The players got used to it very quickly. It’s a bit of a timesaver. Our goal is to play in 2 1/2 hours.”


Games Can End in a Tie in Overtime

Much has been made about the NFL overtime rules given the close conference championships. The AAF will try a new format, but not one that has been widely mentioned as a solution for the NFL. Here are the AAF overtime rules.

Overtime rules: Each team gets the ball once and its first-and-goal from the 10. You must score a touchdown and go for two. Games can end in ties.

One major difference with the NFL is there are no field goals allowed in overtime, but field goals can be attempted in regulation. Games can end in a tie after overtime.


The AAF Will Introduce a “Sky Judge” That Oversees Player Safety Calls

The term sky judge sounds a bit like a superhero movie, but it is something the AAF is introducing as part of the officiating process. The sky judge can make a call involving player safety and also can make pass interference calls inside five minutes during the fourth quarter. The Commercial Appeal described the sky judge process.

. The creative part: He or she will serve as an eye-in-the-sky of sorts, appropriately referred to as the sky judge, who will be in the press box and can instantly correct “obvious and egregious” officiating errors…

The sky judge will have real-time technology to correct clear errors involving player safety at any time, as well as pass interference inside of five minutes left in the fourth quarter.


There Are No Onside Kicks or Extra Point Attempts

Since there are no kickoffs, it makes sense that there are also no onside kicks. Instead, teams can elect to get the ball for a fourth-and-12 conversion scenario. This can only happen within five minutes remaining in the game and if the team is trailing by 17 or more points. Covers.com detailed the AAF onside alternative.

That also means no onside kicks. Teams can instead try an “onside conversion”, meaning they must convert a fourth-and-12 from its own 28-yard line to keep the ball. Teams can only try an onside conversion inside of five minutes remaining in the game, or if they are trailing by 17 or more.

Throughout the whole game, there are no extra point attempts after touchdowns and teams must go for two after scoring a TD.

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