BIRMINGHAM — A few things are missing — there are no kickoffs or extra points.

There are new twists to the rules — defenses can’t rush more than five and there are no onside kicks.

Despite the changes, it was still football.

The Birmingham Iron made its debut Sunday as part of the Alliance of American Football.

The Iron defeated the Memphis Express 26-0 in front of a crowd of 17,039 at Legion Field.

The AAF, formed in March 2018, is founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian’s answer to the NFL, its multibillion-dollar counterpart.

The league officially started Saturday to rave reviews. According to CBS, ratings for the season openers — the San Diego Fleet vs. the San Antonio Commanders and the Atlanta Legends vs. the Orlando Apollos — averaged almost 3 million viewers.

“We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the product that was out on the field,” said Justin Tuck, a former NFL defensive end who is on the AAF’s Player Engagement Board of Advisors. “We’re very excited about the opportunity for getting these guys a second chance to play football.

“We still have some things we need to work on, some bumps to smooth out, but the opening week I definitely think it was a big success.”

To gain local interest, the Iron debuted a team with a heavy mix of former University of Alabama and Auburn University players.

Trent Richardson, a former Crimson Tide running back who was a first-round NFL draft pick in 2012 by the Cleveland Browns, is one of the Iron’s most well-known stars. He scored the Iron’s first touchdown of the season and finished with 58 yards on 23 carries.

Richardson, after struggling to find his way in the first three quarters, which saw him fumble early in the third quarter, finally got on track in the fourth. He scored on a four-yard run and caught the two-point conversion pass to put the Iron up 17-0.

Richardson rushed for 33 yards in the fourth quarter to keep the clock moving and scored his second touchdown on a five-yard run with under two minutes to play.

“When he runs 20 times a game he’s going to be effective,” Memphis head coach Mike Singletary said of Richardson. “We didn’t do a good job of taking him out of the game. When they were able to score points and power run the ball, that’s when you dial up Trent Richardson. He did a great job running the ball.”

The offense definitely had a Crimson Tide look with Richardson in the backfield and four ex-Alabama players on the offensive line — J.C. Hassenauer (center), Korren Kirven (guard), Dominick Jackson (tackle) and Brandon Greene (tackle).

Xzavier Dickson is another former Crimson Tide player on the Iron roster and he made his presence known in the fourth quarter with a nifty, one-handed interception grab with under four minutes to play.

Josh Frazier (defensive tackle) and Bradley Sylve (defensive back) are also on the roster as well as Cole Mazza (long snapper).

Zac Stacy didn’t play for the Crimson Tide or the Auburn Tigers, but he’s got Alabama connections. He graduated from Bibb County High School and played at Vanderbilt before playing a few years (2013-15) in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams and the New York Jets.

He made his AAF debut with Memphis and carried the ball six yards on the game’s first play.

“It felt really good getting that first carry to get me going,” Stacy said of being back on the football field after a long absence. “It was good to be back (in Alabama). This was basically a home game for me. I had a lot of folks here watching me.”

Stacy finished with 12 carries for 58 yards.

The Birmingham offense struggled in the first half, failing to find the end zone. The Iron relied on a strong defense and kicker Nick Novak to take advantage. Novak booted three field goals to give the Iron a 9-0 lead through three quarters.