8-team pro football league makes debut

The Alliance of American Football, an eight-team pro league featuring well-known former NFL and college coaches, kicked off its inaugural season with two games Saturday on national television.

The San Antonio Commanders, led by former San Diego Chargers coach Mike Riley, defeated the San Diego Fleet 15-6 in front of 27,857 fans at the Alamodome. San Diego is led by former St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz.

In the second game, former NFL head coach Steve Spurrier led the Orlando Apollos to a 40-6 triumph over the visiting Atlanta Legends.

The league’s other four teams begin play Sunday with the Memphis Express visiting the Birmingham Iron and the Salt Lake Stallions playing at the Arizona Hotshots.

Among the league’s unusual rules: No kickoffs or point-after kicks, a 13-minute halftime and no TV timeout with the goal of finishing in less 2½ hours.

The AAF was founded by Bill Polian, a Hall of Famer and former NFL general manager, and Charlie Ebersol, a longtime TV and film producer.

The championship game will be held in Las Vegas on April 27.

Soccer: Liverpool calmed its increasingly nervous fan base with a 3-0 win at Anfield that put the team back atop the English Premier League standings. Liverpool, in search of its first league title since 1990, had let a seven-point lead over Manchester City slip away in recent weeks. City, which took the lead on goal difference Wednesday, must beat Chelsea on Sunday to prevent Liverpool from establishing another gap with a game in hand. Liverpool has 65 points in 26 games with City totaling 62.

• With a 3-1 victory over Atletico in the Madrid derby, Real Madrid returned to second place in the Spanish league for the first time since September, moving five points behind Barcelona.

Golf: Bernhard Langer eagled the par-5 18th for a 4-under-par 68 and a one-stroke lead over Marco Dawson (67) at 12-under 132 in the PGA Tour Champions’ Oasis Championship in Boca Raton, Fla. Gary Nicklaus, the 50-year-old son of Jack Nicklaus, followed an opening 67 with a 77 to fall into a tie for 49th in his first tour start.

• Second-round leader Kim Kaufman holed out from the bunker for birdie on the par-3 seventh hole which helped her to a 3-over 75 for a two-stroke lead at 10-under 207 heading into the final round of the LPGA’s Vic Open at Barwon Heads, Australia.

In the European Tour men’s event being played alongside the women’s tournament, Australian Wade Ormsby, who shot 70, will take a two-stroke lead into the final round. Callum Shinkwin of England (66) and Australian Matthew Stieger (65) were tied for second.

Baseball: Right-hander Homer Bailey and the Royals and agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training. Bailey, 32, has made 212 career career starts, going 67-77 with a 4.56 ERA for Cincinnati. The Reds traded Bailey to the Dodgers in a seven-player deal in December, then he was released and became a free agent.

• The Indians signed reliever Alex Wilson to a minor-league contract. The 32-year-old Wilson pitched in 59 games for Detroit last season, posting a 3.36 ERA. He limited right-handed hitter to a .191 average.

• The Minnesota Twins agreed to a minor-league contract with former A’s infielder Adam Rosales, 35, who hit .211 in 13 games for Cleveland last year.

Skiing: Aksel Lund Svindal won silver in his final race as Norwegian teammate Kjetil Jansrud edged him by 0.03 of a second in the men’s downhill at the world championships in Are, Sweden. Svindal, 36, ends an illustrious 17-year career following persistent knee injuries.

Figure skating: China’s Wenjing Sui and Cong Han edged Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro by six hundredths of a point to win the pairs competition at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships in Anaheim. The 2018 Olympic silver medalists won Saturday’s free skate with 136.92 points and finished with a total of 211.11 for the meet.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/8-team-pro-football-league-makes-debut-13604703.php.

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