Alliance of American Football debuts with strong ratings

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After a month-long training camp in San Antonio, the Apollos returned home to Orlando with their final 52-player roster to prepare to officially kick-off their first season within the AAF at UCF's Spectrum Stadium on Saturday against the Atlanta Legends.

It wasn't the only prominent, last-minute change to the Legends' staff, either, as offensive coordinator Michael Vick, an Atlanta icon who starred with the Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles in the National Football League, stepped down just this week, transitioning to an advisory role because of various other commitments. Either way, the AAF made a promising dent.

"I think the fans had a good time tonight, didn't they?"

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The league will feature eight teams, and the games will be featured on CBS and NFL Network. Here's how you can watch Sunday's game. Orlando will be able to enjoy this victory for a day or two before starting to prepare for a road game against the San Antonio Commanders. The Memphis Express face the Birmingham Iron at 4 p.m. ET, followed by a battle between the Arizona Hotshots and Salt Lake Stallions at 8 p.m. ET.

Its rule differences meant there were no boiler-plate kickoffs, no near-automatic extra point kicks and no lengthy television timeouts. A ninth member of the officiating crew, a "SkyJudge," will sit in the press box and "use real-time technology to correct clear errors involving player safety anytime during a game, and pass interference inside of five minutes left in the fourth quarter", the AP reported.

There are no kickoffs, with each team starts a possession after a score or at the start of a half at its 25-yard line.

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Onside kicks are not a part of The Alliance and instead "onside conversions" will be a new addition. The game will end in a tie if neither team scores.

With a 52-man roster featuring 29 players from nine Florida colleges, there's a local feel to the Apollos for fans of the hometown team.

Every player is paid the same three-year, non-guaranteed $250,000 contract with built-in bonuses for meeting performance goals.

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Saturday's AAF debut, which featured a pair of games on CBS, registered a 2.1 rating, according to Sports Business Journal, a strong start for a league that hopes to capture football fans' attention during the NFL offseason.