Christian Hackenberg struggles in AAF debut

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Both of the AAF openers - Atlanta-Orlando and San Diego-San Antonio - are at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on CBS, with regional coverage, or stream on CBS All Access.

Former NFL quarterback Christian Hackenberg, whose middle name is Blaize, made his return to the gridiron on Sunday as a member of the AAF's Memphis Express.

Gilbert's 26-yard touchdown pass in the first minute of the second quarter to Jalin Marshall not only put Orlando up, 7-3, but it was the first touchdown in AAF history.

In the NFL, those numbers would come out to a passer rating of 1.7 per Pro-Football-Reference. The eight-team upstart league will play a 10-game regular-season schedule and crown its champion after a title game on April 27.

Although the AAF plans to serve as a complementary league to the NFL, the Alliance plans to change areas of the NFL's policy where the fan engagement is low or that they feel are unsafe. Other startup football leagues like the USFL and XFL did fantastic ratings right away, and then those fizzled quickly.

Instead of kickoffs, which the league decided slow down the game and create too many injuries, the ball will simply start on the 25-yard line after each score or at the beginning of each half. So he's been with the team since before its players arrived.

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The AAF rules are very different from the NFL.

Like Spurrier, Mike Martz and Mike Singletary, Childress was among the first big-name additions to the AAF roster, bringing a plethora of NFL experience to the upstart league.

Two hours before game-time between Orlando and Atlanta, traffic flowed freely and there were few visible signs that the league was about to make its debut at Spectrum Stadium on the campus of UCF, where the Apollos have chosen to play in a more intimate setting than the larger Citrus Bowl near downtown Orlando.

The team plays their home opener at Rice-Eccles Stadium on February 23, but the Stallions will play their first game ever on February 10 when they travel to play the Arizona Hotshots.

In stark contrast to the thousands who tailgate in a festive atmosphere before UCF games in the fall, only a smattering of fans mingled in a plaza near the 44,000-seat stadium on a cloudy and windy evening.

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