When the XFL kicks off on Feb. 8, the teams will be standing a lot closer than you are used to when watching the NFL and that won’t be the only difference.
The XFL released a list of rules that will change football dramatically compared to the game we grew up with.
- During the kickoff, coverage teams will line up just five yards apart. The XFL says it made this change to make it safer for players. Touchback penalties will be in place to incentivize returnable kicks and the potential for the big plays.
- There will be no kick for an extra point after a touchdown. A tiered point system allows teams to go for one point from the 2-yard line, two points from the 5-yard line and three points from the 10-yard line. A possible “nine-point touchdown” means an 18-point deficit is still a two-possession game.
- Overtime will be a shootout. After several playoff games have come down to overtime, the NFL overtime rules have come under scrutiny. In the NFL, if the first team gets a touchdown, the game is over. In the XFL, each team receives five attempts to score from the 5-yard line in a hockey shootout format, with the clubs alternating attempts until one team’s total is insurmountable. Each success is worth two points.
- Multiple forward passes will be allowed behind the line of scrimmage to create more play options for offenses.
- The game clock will continuously run and there won’t be as many timeouts. Teams will only be allotted two timeouts per half.
- A 25-second play clock will begin after the ball is spotted for the next play. This will eliminate some of the downtime between plays.
- The XFL is adopting the college rule of only one foot in bounds. Only one foot needs to be in bounds to be counted as a reception. The XFL says this allows players to stabilize their bodies and reduce the chance of injury.
- There will be almost no downtime in these games with only a 10-minute halftime.
- One official will be dedicated to ball spotting. The XFL says this eliminates confusion, enables quicker ball spots and powers a faster game.
The Houston Roughnecks will play their inaugural game on Feb. 8. They will face the Los Angeles Wildcats at 5 p.m.