When the XFL relaunch was first announced, Vince McMahon made it clear that the league’s goal was to be different than the NFL. The idea would be to look at what wasn’t working for the competition and innovate it to make it better.
“What we did is listen to fans,” XFL commissioner Oliver Luck stated to ESPN. “And what they told us is that they love this game, but they would like it at a little more of a faster pace and with a little more excitement. They thought there is too much idle time. We tried to listen to what they didn’t want, also. They didn’t want gimmicks or things that were inauthentic. They also didn’t want to be complicit when it comes to player safety. So what we wanted to do is take a great game and make it a little better.”
With just a few weeks until the XFL begins again, the league announced the official rules of the XFL. Some initial talks included eliminating PAT kicks and replacing them with scrimmage plays, a continuously running clock and a penalty shootout-esque OT period. Some of the goals of these rules will be to promote the safety of the player and avoid concussions. Here are some of the rules that the XFL has included for its upcoming season:
* Kickoffs will start off from the 30-yard line, with the coverage and blocking teams lining up at the receiving teams 35 and 30-yard lines. Only the kicker and returner can move until the ball is caught or three seconds after it hits the ground. A touchback will be spotted at the 35-yard line. Any ball out of bounds will go to the 45-yard line. The idea is to increase returns and force a lack of touchbacks.
* Players can’t leave the line of scrimmage on punts until after the kick. To discourage fair catches and “coffin corner” kicks, any kick that goes into the end zone or out of bounds will be marked at the 35-yard line, or wherever the ball went out of bounds.
* There will be three options after scoring a touchdown: a one-point play from the two-yard line, a two-point play from the three-yard line and a three-point play from the ten-yard line. There will be no option to kick for an extra point.
* Overtime: The league is hoping for multiple points following a touchdown to diminish the need for OT. It will be a shootout-style situation: Each team will get five single-play possessions from the five-yard line. Rotating possessions will continue if the game is still tied until a winner is announced.
* In order to encourage creative trick plays without losing possession of a live ball that hits the ground, there will be a rule that allows two forward passes on one play. This will only be allowed if the first pass does not go past the line of scrimmage.
* In order to avoid injury, one foot is allowed in bounds for a possession.
* Officials: There will be nine total, with most of them having experience at the D1 level. One official will be solely responsible for spotting the ball. This is similar to the AAF and new Head of Officiating Dean Blandino has brought that method with him.
* Reviewing plays: A video official can intervene on non-reviewable plays when it comes to player safety (hits) or after calls inside five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Hawk-Eye technology will be utilized from the broadcast truck to the booth.
* Offensive Linemen will be able to be up to two yards downfield when a pass is thrown to avoid flags.
* Timing: The XFL is hoping to decrease time in a game (an NFL game lasts roughly 3:06). That includes running the game clocks after incomplete passes or when a player goes out of bounds. That rule will be dismissed inside of two minutes of each half. There will also be only a ten-minute halftime, two timeouts per team per half and no coin tosses.
* The home team will always make the choice to kick, receive or defer to start the game. The visitors will have that opportunity to choose during overtime.
The relaunched XFL season is expected to start in February of 2020, the weekend after the Super Bowl.
This is our game. See the XFL rules live when we kick off Sat, Feb. 8th. #ForTheLoveOfFootball
— XFL (@xfl2020) January 7, 2020