He'd still be Chad Johnson, never having to legally change his name to avoid the NFL's strict governance on revelry.
While the league dubbed the "No Fun League" might stifle originality and promote strictness ( see Calvin Johnson's Week 1 touchdown catch that was waived off by officials) the UFL embraces it.
"We encourage them to be creative," said Larry Upson, the UFL's Vice President of Officiating and Operations. "At our meetings with the teams, we make it a point to tell players that we want them to celebrate and have fun."
Allowing celebrations is just one distinction in the rulebook between the UFL and the NFL. The UFL's leaders put an emphasis on rules to make the league fan-friendly and to enhance the league's overall product.
The following is a sample of UFL rules that are different than NFL rules:
Individual and group celebrations are allowable in the end zone or in the area of the team bench.
Both teams will each have an opportunity to possess the football in overtime; with sudden death rules applying after both teams have had a shot on offense.
Instant replays are made by the replay official in the booth rather than the on-field referee. The whole process is limited to 90 seconds.
Fumbling the ball into and out of the back of the end zone is not a touchback. Rather, the ball is placed at the spot of the fumble.
There is no intentional grounding. The quarterback can legally ground the football whether he is in or out of the pocket.
FanHouse spoke in depth with Upson for further explanations of the league's rules. Upson spent six seasons as an NFL official and 12 years in the NFL's officiating office, ending his tenure as the Director of Officiating.
Q: What led to the decision to allow celebrations?
A: The fans want to see excitement out of the players. They don't want a stoic person going back to the sideline. Let's let them tastefully do something and show some excitement. Fans want to see what they saw in the old days: the fun bunch, players jumping up and bumping their chests. The fans understand the player is excited, no one thinks they are showing off.
Q: The rule clearly defines "tasteful" celebrations. What's an example of non-tasteful?
A: The only caveat is that a player can't taunt the opponent. Otherwise it would be something obvious. In other words, you'll know it when you see it.
Q: The current state of the NFL's overtime rule often makes for a hot debate. What was the reasoning behind the decision to allow both teams a guaranteed possession?
A: It makes for a more fair game. The way the NFL rule is written right now, the first team to get possession of the football and to score wins the game and the other team never has the opportunity to compete. After battling for 60 minutes, it comes down to a coin toss.
I think our rule is a lot more competitive and a lot more fan-friendly.
Q: What are the fundamental rule differences between the NFL and the UFL in your opinion?
A: We want to make the game more fan-friendly. Most of it was basically common sense. It also gives us an opportunity to do some things that the NFL hasn't done.
Q: Is your rule system superior to the NFL?
A: I wouldn't say superior – I would say on par. We are not trying to compete with the NFL at all. We all know big brother is sitting out there. We are not trying to compete or make ourselves better. We just want a slice of the pie.
Q: Do you at least offer a counter to the "No Fun League"?
A: We looked at it from the standpoint that we wanted to be a league of opportunity and to do something positive for our players, not stifle them.
Q: What was the reasoning behind the decision to eliminate the touchback rule when an offense fumbles out of the back of the end zone?
We want offense and scoring. We look at it as a huge penalty for the offense. The defense didn't recover the ball, so why punish the offense? Why give the ball to the other team? This way it's the same as every other fumble scenario in the rulebook.
Q: What is the reasoning behind the rule that the quarterback can legally ground the football inside or outside of the pocket? Will this eliminate sacks?
Our thinking there was that the quarterback is the most valuable position in our league. Having good quality quarterbacks is paramount to this league.
We didn't want to subject our quarterbacks to unnecessary hits. We don't want them to take that extra pounding running away out of the pocket to dump the football. We needed to protect the quarterback.
Q: What are the thoughts on that from the defense's perspective?
A: (Laughing) The defense always complains that we do everything for the offense. But it's an offensive game. Fans don't want to see a 10-9 score. We want to do some scoring.
Q: With five teams in the league, and the two best records facing off in the championship games, one of the UFL Rules Committee's biggest issues is determining how to solve tiebreakers if teams finish with identical records. How are you handling that issue?
A: All the options are up in the air. Head-to-head records are the obvious solution. But what happens if there is a three-way tie in the standings, or even a four-way tie?
We don't want to rely on points scored because we don't want teams to run up the score. That makes for embarrassing game and it leads to a hostile environment for both clubs.
Q: What's the current state of finding a solution there?
We are looking for answers. We want to stay consistent with the overall theme of the league and listen to what the fans want. I am truly searching for some comments from fans. There are football people out there who eat and breath this stuff. That's what I am looking for.
Jimmy Spencer can be reached on twitter @JimmypSpencer