The XFL is due to start after the Superbowl and some people are getting very excited about what could be the best NFL alternative in a long while. The game itself is pretty much the same as the NFL but they’ve made some changes to make it faster and more exciting. We’ve dived into the changes below to give you a heads up on what you can expect to see!
The kickoff can be one of the most boring or one of the most exciting plays in the NFL, most of the time it will go out of the back of the endzone or a touchback or the returner will signal for a fair catch. However, sometimes a big special teams play can turn the tide of a game and a big return is amazing to watch for the fans.
This is why the XFL has changed the kickoff to hopefully encourage more returns and big plays. Now the kicking team will stand at the receiving teams 35-yard line and the receiving team will stand at their 30-yard line. Neither can move until the returner catches the ball or the ball has been on the ground for three seconds. This will hopefully mean more surprising and amazing plays can happen on the kickoff and make it more fun to watch.
The Double-Forward Pass
Creativity in the NFL isn’t hard to find and trick plays can be some of the best things you will see all year. From flea flickers to triple reverses to end arounds, these creative plays and innovative ideas are something the XFL wants to push even further.
This is why they are implementing the use of a double-forward pass. Normally you’re not allowed to throw two forward passes on a single play, if you want to throw two passes, the first would have to be a lateral. With the option to throw two forward passes this could lead to some thrilling plays in the game, whether they go right or wrong for the offense.
Nine Point Touchdowns
The extra point is probably the most boring play in all of the NFL and even when they moved the line back it’s still been one of the most automatic things about the game. Two-point conversions are exciting and allow for teams to make thrilling comebacks when they normally wouldn’t be able to.
The XFL is turning this into a huge part of their game and they are now allowing teams to choose from three options when they score a touchdown. It’s still six points for a touchdown but if they opt to try and score from the two-yard line they gain one extra point. If they opt to try and score from the five-yard line, then that’s two extra points. If a team is down late and they really need to try something risky to win the game then they can try a play from the 10-yard line and score an extra three points. This should lead to some wild comebacks and interesting scores. It’s also worth noting that the defence gets the same amount of points the offence was attempting if they manage to return it.
Punting or going for it on fourth down has become a big talking point in the NFL recently with analytics saying it’s usually better to always go for it than to punt. So the XFL wants to encourage teams to go for it more often and that’s exciting. Under XFL rules if a punt goes through the endzone the receiving team gets it at their 35-yard line. Punts that go out of bounds are also placed at the 35-yard line or further if that’s where it went out of bounds. The kicking team are also not allowed to move until the ball has been kicked, which means the receiving team are less likely to call for a fair catch.
Changing the NFL overtime rules has become a hot topic recently due to the unfair one-possession nature of overtime. This is where the XFL is going big in the hopes it leads to some amazing overtime games. Described as a shoot-out, there will be no ties and each team will get up to five one-play possessions to score from the five-yard line. Each conversion nets the team two points and the teams will go back and forth until either is mathematically eliminated. The defence can’t score and if, after five possessions, the game is still tied then it will go to sudden death for the team that scores next.