To start, if you haven't heard of the UFL, it stands for the United Football League. It's a brand new league and kicks off for its first game today with a matchup between the California Redwoods and the Las Vegas Locomotives. I'll get to specifics about the teams in a short while but first I'll talk a bit more about the league. It is unclear at this point what their actual vision is but it has been stated that they are not in competition with the NFL. They stand, at this point, to be some kind of developmental league, most of the players having at one time or another played in the NFL. The other two teams (four total, thus far) are the Florida Tuskers and the New York Sentinels. Speculation right now has the UFL hoping to be active and running strong around the time the NFL may or may not be locked out for a season come the end of the CBA, with the UFL likely attempting to get some of the players to play for their league. Either way, I'm more than a little interested in this young league and I'll be watching the kickoff in just a couple short hours.
The UFL will be running NFL style rules with a few notable exceptions. These rule changes are as follows...
- No Tuck Rule - The Tuck rule is one of the most controversial rules in the NFL. In the NFL, if a passer brings his arm forward in a passing motion and then loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body, it's considered a forward pass (and thus an incomplete pass if the ball hits the ground). In the UFL, it would be called a fumble.
- Touchdown celebrations - Celebrations, individual or group, will only take place in the endzones and on the bench area.
- Fumbling out of the endzones - If the ball is fumbled out of the endzone, it will be placed back at the spot of the fumble, pending which team last had possession.
- Intentional grounding - A quarterback is allowed to intentionally ground the ball anywhere behind the line of scrimmage if he is under pressure.
- Instant replay - All reviews will be viewed upstairs by the replay official and he will only have 90 seconds for review.
- Overtime - Both teams will be guaranteed at least one possession. When a team scores, the other team will get a last chance to score on the next drive. Similar to the College football rule.
Notable of course, is the intentional grounding and the absence of the abomination of the NFL rulebook--the tuck rule. I'm interested to see how the intentional grounding will play out. Either way, what do I expect from this league?
Just about nothing. I mean, I'm more curious than anything--I'm not expecting the most intense of competition for my viewing time from this young league but I am very curious. Curious enough to lurk around this fanpost after I post it to see if anyone else is watching. I mean, it couldn't hurt to watch, right? Then again, maybe it can, considering the fact that players such as Tim Rattay and JP Losman are going to be suiting up for tonight's matchup. Which brings me, of course... to well... the matchup.
The Head Coaches- The Redwoods are coached by Dennis Green, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals and leads the spread 3-1 against Locomotives head coach Jim Fassel, formerly of the New York Giants. I believe Green has the edge on this matchup.
The California Redwoods versus the Las Vegas Locomotives. How do you break down a game full of players you know nothing about? It's hard to really gauge but at this point it seems like the "Locos" have the more talented roster. They are quarterbacked by JP Losman and are starting a running back I'm actually rather familiar with: DeDe Dorsey. As far as other players of note there aren't many, we've got some younger brothers of current NFL players and an entire defense of unknowns.
As for the California Redwoods (the team I happen to be rooting for, guess why) there's not much there. Ex-49ers receiver Mark Bradford plays for the team--I can't claim that I saw a lot in the kid but I do know he was fast, and decent. A practice squadder if there ever was one. On defense they have LB Dontarrious Thomas, someone I expect to be a game changer tonight. They have BJ Sams at WR--a player who holds the distinction of being the lowest rated player on Madden NFL 10--nice. Their biggest question mark is at the QB position, one of the few things the Loco's seem to have down.
I've also just realized how bizarre this league is when I list J.P. Losman as a reason a professional football team may have an advantage over the other. Either way, it should be an interesting matchup and will air in about two hours on Versus or online. If you're going to catch the game maybe hang around this post and discuss it with me as I'm hungry for football talk as of right now. Now for some further reading...
Check this link for further reading on the UFL.
The game will be on Versus at 6:00 PM Pacific but can also be viewed online here.
So here's hoping for a good game, I'd like to see this little league succeed--nothing wrong with more football. My prediction: Locomotives Win 24-16.