The UFL kicked off last night as the Las Vegas Locomotives won the inaugural UFL game against the California Redwoods. Las Vegas quarterback J.P. Losman picked apart the Redwoods defense on way to 30-17 victory.
The UFL initially had plans to start with eight teams playing in targeted sites in the fall of 2008, but started with four. A friend of mine that was on the Steelers last year is playing for the Las Vegas Locomotives.
The league had identified approximately 21 cities with strong economic bases, passionate football tradition, and a high number of average TV viewing households as potential team locations. Target markets included: Austin, Birmingham, Columbus, Hartford, Las Vegas, London (England), Los Angeles, Louisville, Memphis, Mexico City (Mexico), Milwaukee, Monterrey (Mexico), New York City, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and San Jose.
The league began its premiere season on October 8, 2009, playing games on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, with the first regular season game held on October 8 and the championship game on Thanksgiving weekend. Both the inaugural game and the championship will be held in Las Vegas.
Like previous football leagues, the UFL has instituted several mostly minor rules changes that will differ from the NFL's rules. Though the league has indicated it would mostly adhere to standard rules, there are a few differences, 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 either way.
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.
Officials - instead of the traditional black-and-white uniforms, UFL referees wear a red polo shirt with black pants.
Play Clock - While the NFL has a 40 second play clock, the UFL has a 25 second play clock, which results in more plays and maintains a fast pace quality of play.