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Posted: July 16 2019,05:57

SAN DIEGO (AP) — When the fledgling Alliance of American Football held four exhibition games recently in San Antonio Youth Eli Apple Jersey , something was missing.Kickoffs.“We were all looking around saying, ‘Does anyone miss kickoffs?’ The answer was, no, we did not miss them,” said Mike Pereira, the NFL’s former vice president of officiating who is a consultant for the latest attempt at a spring league.So, yes, when the eight-team AAF kicks off this weekend, there will be no kickoffs as a nod to player safety and one of many twists to make games faster.There will be plenty of other differences between the NFL and the AAF, which was founded by Bill Polian, a Hall of Famer and former NFL general manager, and Charlie Ebersol, a longtime TV and film producer.Among them will be a ninth member of the officiating crew, called a SkyJudge who will be in the press box and can instantly correct “obvious and egregious” officiating errors, like the one that marred the NFC championship game. Overtime will be different, too.The AAF opens Saturday with the San Diego Fleet visiting the San Antonio Commanders and the Atlanta Legends at the Orlando Apollos. Games continue Sunday with the Memphis Express visiting the Birmingham Iron and the Salt Lake Stallions at the Arizona Hotshots.Those games will start without kickoffs. There will still be a coin toss, with the winner deciding whether to receive or defer. The team that gets the ball will simply send out its offense to start from its 25.“The players got used to it very quickly,” Pereira said in a phone interview from his home in Sacramento. “It’s a bit of a timesaver. Our goal is to play in 2 1/2 hours.”Perhaps the most timely change is the SkyJudge, who is able to 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 SkyJudge was already in place before the non-call late in the NFC championship game that pretty much cost New Orleans a spot in the Super Bowl. NFL officiating chief Al Riveron called Saints coach Sean Payton after the game and admitted the game officials missed the helmet-to-helmet hit and pass interference penalty by Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman.Pereira said it was modeled in part after the college targeting rule, which allows replay to step in and call targeting even if was not called on field, or take it off if was called but wasn’t not really targeting.“If you get a helmet-to-helmet spear and it’s not called on the field, it can be picked up by the ninth official,” Pereira said. “He has the ability to do it in real time. It doesn’t go to replay. … He can call down to the field and say, ‘Hey, spearing on No. 33 of Birmingham, 15-yard penalty, let’s go.’“It’s correcting errors on the field by another member of the officiating crew without having to go to replay to do it and having a three-minute stoppage to do it.”If the SkyJudge gets a quick replay, he could view it before the ball is snapped. They just can’t delay the next snap.Also gone are onside kicks and point-after kicks. When teams score touchdowns, they must try a two-point conversion. Field goals are still OK, except in overtime. The play clock will be reduced from 40 seconds to 35 seconds. The AAF will also go back to the original NFL replay scheme of giving each team two challenges Eli Apple Jersey Stitched , and that’s it. That means no time-consuming video reviews for turnovers and touchdowns.While onside kicks are out, “onside conversions” are in, if a team is trailing by 17 points or for either team inside of five minutes remaining in the game.So, rather than trying an onside kick, a team must convert a fourth-and-12 from its 28 in order to keep the ball.Pereira said teams like that change, too.“It was an exciting play in these preseason games. You get one play and if you reach the 40, you keep ball. If not, the ball goes over to the other team. It can be punitive. If you your throw an incomplete pass, the receiving team gets the ball at the 28-yard line. At least it gives teams an opportunity.”In overtime, each team will get the ball once, first-and-goal from the 10.Teams have to score a touchdown and go for two points. Field goals aren’t allowed. The other team then gets a series and can either match the other team or win.Games can end in ties. “We’re not afraid of ties,” Pereira said. “It creates some excitement.”Again, the goal is quicker games.“What’s nice is we’re experimenting with things the NFL has talked about,” Pereira said. “In preseason games these changes proved effective. We had points.“No disrespect to 13-3,” he said, referring to New England’s win against the Los Angeles Rams in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever, “but we’d much rather see 31-28.”FOX Fantasy AutoForm a Racing Team, Compete for PrizesPlay Now! Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells. Hall of Famers all.The three coaches who dominated the NFL in the 1980s and just beyond &#37413;?Walsh coached the 49ers to three Super Bowl titles, Gibbs did the same with the Redskins, and Parcells won two with the Giants &#37413;?are the subject of an outstanding new book by longtime Newsday columnist Bob Glauber."Guts And Genius" includes interviews with more than 150 people who had close contact with the men who outshined all other coaches as NFC teams won 13 straight Super Bowls. Walsh popularized the West Coast offense, Gibbs won his trio of titles with three different quarterbacks, and Parcells was a defensive mastermind and superb motivator."These three coaches did things differently, yet they all arrived at the same place multiple times &#37413;?holding the Lombardi Trophy aloft after the Super Bowl," Glauber says. "Walsh was the intellectual who could outthink his opponents. Gibbs was the master technician who was perhaps the best strategist ever by winning three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks, none of whom was close to Hall of Fame quality. And Parcells was the Jersey guy bully who willed his teams to victory."These coaches brought out the best in their players, and those players developed lifelong affection for them. I found it astonishing how influential Walsh, Gibbs and Parcells were on their players, many of whom call the coaches the greatest influences of their lives."One oddity about each of the three is they all struggled to get or hold onto their head coaching gigs. Gibbs began his career with the Redskins by losing his first five games and six of seven in 1981. Parcells got the Giants job when Ray Perkins high-tailed to Alabama Youth Austin Carr Jersey , and the Tuna then went 3-12-1, looking outmatched at times.Walsh was bypassed for the Bengals' pro job and wound up as coach at Stanford before the 49ers reached out.Soon, they were earning championship rings.Glauber goes deep in detail about how all three were hired, built their teams, and had a profound influence on the sport. Indeed, Walsh's impact has been most profound, with such proteges as Mike Holmgren, Andy Reid, Mike McCarthy and Jon Gruden either winning or reaching Super Bowls."The impact of these coaches, particularly Walsh and Parcells, continues in today's game," Glauber notes, "and their fingerprints are all over the NFL. All 32 of this year's coaches &#37413;?every single one of them &#37413;?has either a direct or indirect connection with Walsh and Parcells, whose coaching trees are among the most productive in the history of pro sports."DISSING BORTLESEagles safety Malcolm Jenkins took a shot at Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles while trying to make a point that Colin Kaepernick belongs in the NFL."I can turn on the tape this week of our opponent and see that Colin Kaepernick deserves a job," Jenkins said.Bortles was benched during Jacksonville's third straight loss last week, but will start against Philadelphia in London on Sunday.Jenkins, co-founder of The Players Coalition, has maintained support for Kaepernick and the quarterback's friend and former 49ers teammate, Panthers safety Eric Reid. They're all fighting against racial and social inequality. However, Kaepernick and Reid disagree with Jenkins on how to do it. Reid and Jenkins had to be separated before the coin toss of Carolina's 21-17 win at Philadelphia. Afterward, Reid called Jenkins a "sellout."HALL HONORING THE MILITARYThe Pro Football Hall of Fame will provide free museum admission and parking to all veterans and active military plus a guest throughout November. The offer is good for all United States active duty personnel, including National Guard reservists and retired military service members who show a valid military ID at the Hall's ticket office.The Hall of Fame's annual Veterans Day event takes place Nov. 3 at 11 a.m. EDT. This year's program is entitled "Honoring the Nation's Heroes" and will include U.S. Army veteran and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier.Bleier, a four-time Super Bowl champion who overcame a severe foot injury, losing part of his right foot during his service in the Vietnam War, will share his story of service at the event. In addition, several Medal of Honor recipients will be on hand for the program in Canton, Ohio.BREES BATTLES FOR INTERCEPTIONSaints quarterback Drew Brees has been setting passing records through October. He's also rooting for an interception.Brees is working this year with the NFL and the American Cancer Society in their "Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer" initiative.For the 10th year, the NFL and the ACS are working together in this program, which addresses early detection and risk reduction efforts for multiple cancers. Since 2009, more than $18.5 million has been raised and donated to ACS through the partnership.As part of the campaign Austin Carr Jersey Stitched , the NFL and ACS created The Defender, a digital tool that provides consumers with personalized tips to reduce their cancer risk. The free, user-friendly tool allows fans to take control of their health and increase their understanding of how healthy lifestyle habits can help reduce their cancer risk.A painting of Brees by Jon Moody is being auctioned off by the NFL to raise funds for "Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer." In addition, a signed Brees helmet is being auctioned off .Fans who complete The Defender will have the option to donate to ACS and enter for a chance to win two tickets to February's Super Bowl in Atlanta, inclusive of travel and other Super Bowl-related events, as part of an ACS contest.NBC INNOVATIONSWas that field goal good? By how much?NBC will let fans know exactly that in Sunday night's strong NFC matchup between New Orleans and Minnesota, both division leaders. The new "SNF Kicks Tracer" can map the flight of the ball on all field goal attempts. The SNF Kicks technology will provide additional data, including trajectory, speed of the football, and a "good from" statistic indicating the furthest distance from which a made field goal would have been successful.The "good from" metric will be used for made field goals of 45 yards or longer. It uses TrackMan technology that has been popularized by NBC Sports golf coverage, and determines how far the kick would have been good from by tracking the football from when it is kicked until it hits the net behind the goal posts."As we continue to use the most cutting-edge technology to enhance our 'Sunday Night Football' broadcast, we are excited to add the tracer to our coverage," says Fred Gaudelli, executive producer of SNF. "With many games coming down to field goals, this new element will illustrate the flight of the football, while also providing many statistics pertinent to the kicking game."And field goals are only the beginning. By the end of the season, we hope to be showcasing the technology on kickoffs and punts, and eventually make our way to the passing game."I REMEMBER YOUFew NFL head coaches have deeper ties than Tampa Bay's Dirk Koetter and Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis. They both played at Idaho State, with Lewis a year ahead. Koetter was a high school quarterback when he first met Lewis on Idaho State's field."We'd practice after them," Koetter said. "He was the scout team quarterback. I'd watch Marvin my senior year. When I committed to go there, I originally thought Marvin and I would be in competition with each other, but Marvin moved to defense and had a terrific career as a defensive player."They became close friends and Lewis spent a lot of time with the Koetter family."It's very unique, having sat in class with Dirk for years," Lewis said. "I kind of grew up eating Thanksgiving dinner at his home, and I went to high school football games with his mother when his dad was coaching and his brother was the quarterback."So it's a little bit unique."Their friendship extends beyond football."I was coaching high school and Marvin introduced me to my wife, Kim," Koetter said. "I'll be forever grateful."AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Simmi Buttar, Rob Maaddi and Sports Writer Joe Kay contributed.

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