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Bill Polian to help form new spring pro football league

Hall of Famer and former Bills executive Bill Polian is running football operations for a new spring football league, according to the Associated Press.

The Alliance of American Football will begin play the Sunday after the Super Bowl -- Feb. 8, 2019 -- with the opening game broadcast on CBS as part of a multi-year deal and other digital platforms. The championship game will be the weekend of the NFL Draft.

Polian and Charlie Ebersol, a veteran producers who is the son of Dick Ebersol, the former head of NBC Sports who was involved in the XFL and is credited with founding "Sunday Night Football." Dick Ebersol will serve on the league's board of directors, according to the report. Former players such as Justin Tuck, Hines Ward and Jared Allen will have significant roles, Charlie Ebersol said.

Here is the rundown, as reported:

  • Polian will run the football operations with former player and front office executive J.K. McCay, the son of former NFL coach John McKay.
  • The league will have eight teams, likely in warm-weather climates and cities without NFL teams.
  • Polian says the rosters will be culled from players who were cut by NFL teams, undrafted players, players looking to return to football; and free agents from the CFL or elsewhere.
  • The league will own all player contracts; rosters will be selected in a number of ways, including a particular coach wanting a player he has coached before or a Florida-based player landing on a Florida team.
  • The league will have a draft after the college season ends.
  • As far a rules, Polian told the AP there will be two replay challenges per game for each coach and no more along with no TV timeouts. There will be no kickoffs and innovations around onsides kicks in which teams can go for a fourth-and-1o from the 35-yard line to retain possession.  Also, there will no extra points, only two-point conversions after scores, and a 30-second play clock.

The new league will beat the XFL to the punch with Vince McMahon's new venture set to relaunch in 2020.

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