Bill Polian to help form new spring pro football league

Charlie Ebersol shown here in 2014 is starting a new football league

On Tuesday, Charlie Ebersol, who directed ESPN's "30 for 30" on the XFL past year, announced that he has created a league called the Alliance of American Football to rival the revamped XFL that will begin in 2020.

The AAF, founded by Ebersol - a television and film producer who directed an ESPN documentary about the XFL past year - and longtime National Football League executive Bill Polian, will feature eight teams, a 10-game regular season schedule and distinct rule changes created to speed up each contest. Billed as "a shift in the way we approach professional sports", the eight-team league is going for a fan-friendly vibe with free streaming of games, integrated fantasy football elements and greater interactivity.

The AAF plans to debut February 9, 2019, the day after the Super Bowl, while the XFL says it is shooting for an early 2020 launch.

Unlike McMahon, whose announcement came without a media plan, Charlie Ebersol said that his league, made up of players who didn't make the cut for the NFL, will have the initial contest and the championship game on CBS and one game a week on CBS Sports Network. Former NFL general manager Bill Polian will help Ebersol.

"The game will only stops when it naturally stops", said Ebersol, whose father, Dick Ebersol, was an NBC executive and XFL partner. "This is a marketplace of tens of millions of Americans who have been telling us for decades that they want to see high-quality football longer than the football season". Former Vikings' defensive end Jared Allen, along with Peter Thiel's Founders Fund and The Chernin Group on top of more investors are backing the league. "Getting a lot of money was obviously important, but getting the right money was even more important", Ebersol said. Ebersol also said that outside of the NFL, the AAF will have the highest-paid football players in North America. "How many Kurt Warners are in grocery stores somewhere waiting to be discovered?"

"This [spring football] is a massive gap in the market", founder Charlie Ebersol said in a news conference.

The league will have eight teams, and the cities will be announced in the next three months.

The goal is for sub-2 1⁄2-hour games, with 60 percent fewer commercials, no TV timeouts and a 30-second play clock.

But that's not all - there will be crucial input from former National Football League executives and players. There will be no kickoffs and onside kicks, and the ball will be immediately placed at the 25-yard line.

The Alliance will do away with extra points; instead, scoring teams will attempt a two-point conversion from the two yard-line. But at the end of the day, we are complementary to the NFL. Other games will be available on the league's app, which Ebersol said promises to integrate live fantasy play into the broadcasts.

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