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The United States Football League will kick off its inaugural season in a little more than 24 hours.
The league will have eight teams in two divisions, and the season spans 10 weeks starting April 16 and ending July 3 with the USFL championship.
The USFL will be a bit different from traditional NFL games fans see during the fall and the winter but will fill a football void while the NFL and college football are in their off-seasons.
Read below for everything football fans need to know about the USFL.
Who are the teams?
The North Division consists of the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars and Pittsburgh Maulers. The South Division consists of the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers and Tampa Bay Bandits.
Who are the coaches?
The coaching roster 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 top players?
The crop of USFL talent 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 read more about the crop of talent.
Are there any new rules to know?
Yes. The USFL will be adding a unique twist to the traditional rules of modern-day 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 15-yard field goal. For two points, a team would have to cross the goal line from the 2-yard 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 allowed one replay challenge.
“USFL Replay Command will have the authority to overrule incorrect personal foul calls, including roughing the passer, hits on defenseless players, facemasks, horsecollars and more,” the league said in a news release. “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 done from the 25-yard line, and no kicking team member is allowed to line up farther back than the 1-yard line. The receiving team must have at least eight players set up between its 35- and 45-yard lines.
“After a kickoff travels 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 says.
Onside kicks or scrimmage play
To promote more scoring, teams will have two options to potentially keep the ball after scoring. The team could attempt an onside kick. The second option will be to run a 4th-and-12 play from their own 33-yard line. If the team makes a first down, it retains possession; if it fails, then the defense gets the ball.
Overtime will be a best-of-three shootout. Each offense will try to score from the 2-yard line and each successful play will result in two points. The team with the most points after three plays will be the winner. Any subsequent attempts will become sudden death if the score is tied after each team runs three plays with the period extending until there’s a winner.
The USFL will bar gunners from lining up outside the numbers, and they cannot be double-team blocked until the ball is kicked away.
The clock will stop on first downs inside two minutes of the second and fourth quarters, similar to NCAA rules.
Offensive: “If a pass does not cross the line of scrimmage, there can be no pass interference or ineligible player downfield penalties,” the USFL says.
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 spot foul. Also, the penalty will be a spot 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 the foul is beyond 15 yards,” the league says.
Two forward passes
The USFL will allow for 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. Check out the full schedule here.
Where will the regular-season games be played?
All of its regular-season games during the league’s first season will be played in Birmingham, Alabama, at Protective Stadium and Legion Field.
How much will tickets cost?
General admission for each game is $10 with kids getting in free. Premium general admission tickets are $25. Premium general admission seats are located between the 30-yard lines on the opposite end of the club seating at 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 next to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and holds up to 20,000. It’s the same venue where the NFL hosts its Hall of Fame Game to mark the start of the preseason each year.
The USFL’s four-team playoffs are set to begin June 25 with the top two teams from the North Division and the South Division going head-to-head for a spot in the championship July 3.
How can fans watch?
The first game of the season between the Generals and Stallions will be broadcast on FOX and NBC marking the first time two competing networks will host the same game since Super Bowl I.
Throughout the season, games will primarily be featured on FOX and FS1. Some games will also be seen on NBC, USA Network and Peacock. Click here for the full schedule.
FOX Sports will carry 22 of the 43 games with 12 set for FOX and 10 on FS1. NBC will have 21 games with nine on the USA Network, eight on NBC and four on Peacock.