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AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

Here's a good primer from the AP on the rule changes in the new Alliance of American Football which starts this coming weekend. Kickoffs are gone, but there's an opportunity to "onside kick" by converting fourth-and-12 from the 28. However, you're only allowed to try this if you are down 17 points, or in the final five minutes of the game. There's also a "SkyJudge" official whose job is to monitor the broadcast and correct egregious errors made by the officials on the field.

Comments

18 comments, Last at 15 Feb 2019, 11:28pm

1 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Will Allen // Feb 07, 2019 - 3:33pm

I like having a 35 second play clock, as opposed to a 40 second play clock. All PATs are two point attempts so kickers will be there for field goals only, which is a little weird. I wish they had narrowed the uprights by 20%, to put a real premium on accuracy, and to encourage more 4 down offense.

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4 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Richie // Feb 07, 2019 - 9:19pm

I'm still waiting for the rule that the person who attempts a FG kick has to be somebody who was on the field the previous play. And for extra points, the player who scored the TD would have to kick.

That would essentially mean that EVERY FG or PAT attempt would be highly uncertain. As opposed to the NFL, where anything under 40 is basically a gimme.

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6 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Bright Blue Shorts // Feb 08, 2019 - 5:05am

As appealing as it seems, it would become a comedy kicking circus. Just a season of really bad, awful misses and shanks. Lot of potential blocks to the point where teams just wouldn't attempt FGs.

We'd have had a 6-0 or 8-0 Super Bowl with even less excitement give the dearth of redzone plays. All those regular season games that are currently won by a game-winning FG would likely be drawn out losses.

Can you really see the NFL destroying the credibility of its product just for our entertainment?

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9 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by ChrisS // Feb 08, 2019 - 1:43pm

Your last line was great, I laughed.

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10 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Bright Blue Shorts // Feb 08, 2019 - 2:31pm

:-)

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15 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by DraftMan // Feb 10, 2019 - 5:04pm

More likely, teams on third down in FG range would line up their kicker as a Cutler-esque WR in anticipation of using him on the following play. If it's third and long in a position where the 3 points would be useful, they'd probably run a give-up draw to make it that much more unlikely that anything happens to him on the play (in fact, you could even put the kicker in at QB if you don't mind broadcasting what you're doing).

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16 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Otis Taylor89 // Feb 11, 2019 - 9:32am

You would think the 35 second play clock would affect the game that much, but it does. It probably saves 10 minutes on the overall game, however it just seem to make everything a little more intense and, shall I say, riveting. Two snaps up!
I can't believe I'm watching AAF games...

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2 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Scott P. // Feb 07, 2019 - 3:38pm

Not sure how useful having an 'onside conversion' option but only down 17 with 5 minutes or less left. Even if you make it and score, now you're down 10 with maybe 3 minutes left and no chance. And if you score with 5 minutes left to cut the deficit to 14, you don't even get that. Maybe the shorter play clock will make drives a bit faster, but this seems like an option that will rarely make any difference.

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3 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Will Allen // Feb 07, 2019 - 3:41pm

17 points down, OR 5 minutes or less left

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7 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Chuckc // Feb 08, 2019 - 11:21am

I think the restrictions are there because they were worried that someone would go for it every time. And even though this is a new league, the management involved is all old-school NFL and didn't want that radical a chance

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8 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by jtr // Feb 08, 2019 - 12:37pm

Turning the ball over inside your own 40 is punitive enough that you would never see teams doing that. But it is very old-school NFL of these rules to clutch their pearls at the very thought of someone attempting too many exciting 4th-and-long conversions, and it wouldn't be an NFL or NFL-style rule if it wasn't extra complicated for no reason.

It would also create weird incentives for the defense to just give up and allow TD's in some late-game situations. It makes it better for the losing team to be down 24 with more than 5 minutes remaining than down slightly less (so that they're down 17 after scoring a TD and thus can onside attempt), so you would see a team that was only down 20 actually want to intentionally allow a TD once the opponent got into field goal range.

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11 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Bright Blue Shorts // Feb 08, 2019 - 2:41pm

Might see an intentional safety given up somewhere unexpectedly.

I'll add that the rulesmakers are also probably trying to prevent a high-powered offense just running the 4th down play successfully. Imagine if you get an offensive matchup (for simplicity let's say Rams-Chiefs) and then one of those offenses can't get on the field because their defense can't get off it. In a fledging league, I'm guessing defense will be more exploitable.

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13 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Richie // Feb 08, 2019 - 4:04pm

Since the league is starting from scratch, there could end up being a large talent disparity between teams. It might be a good idea to limit the "onside kick play" in year one, just to make sure nothing crazy happens. If they make it to year 2, that might be a good time to eliminate the restriction.

Apparently, defenses are also not allowed to have defensive backs rush the passer (blitz). The theory being that it takes offensive lines awhile to gel, and they don't want their QB's getting clobbered. Again, hopefully that's something that could be relaxed if they make it to year 2.

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5 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Yu Narukami // Feb 08, 2019 - 3:05am

Is this an extra point hinting at FO's coverage on AAF? (Audibles, DVOA, Quick Reads, etc.)?

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12 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Aaron Schatz // Feb 08, 2019 - 2:42pm

We're trying to figure out how much AAF to write about, but no, there won't be AAF DVOA and Quick Reads. Sorry.

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18 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Sixknots // Feb 15, 2019 - 11:28pm

How about Audibles? You guys gotta be watching these games, right?

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14 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by Shylo // Feb 09, 2019 - 12:14pm

I was in on this league but apparently they have Pro Bowl-esque blitzing rules. Screw that.

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17 Re: AAF Kicks Off Without Kickoffs

by johonny // Feb 11, 2019 - 12:42pm

Watched a little of it this weekend. Sort of felt like watching a last preseason game. One or two of these guys will make an NFL roster next year as a feel good story. But the product isn't all that great.

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