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EXCLUSIVE: XFL Headset Rules For The Upcoming 2020 Season

The first football player to have a wireless speaker in his helmet was George Ratterman in 1956. In fact, my dad was his family’s eye doctor, and the former Browns QB said the quality of communication was so poor he often just called his own plays anyways.

Over 60 year later, we’ve come a long way. In the NFL, Quarterbacks and Mike LB’s are wired into comms with their coaches, as one player on offense and defense can be in touch with their sideline. It’s made playcalling and adjustments much more streamlined and speeds up the pace of the game. The XFL is bringing that kind of coordination to the next level.

Two players on defense will be tuned in, and fifteen players on offensive will have helmet speakers we have learned. This is how the XFL plans to speed up the game in under three hours.

This means that defensive coordinators can link with a Mike to manage the front seven, and a DB to make calls in the secondary. It’ll allow defenses to adjust faster on their feet, and switch up their looks with ease.

Offense, however, is where this gets really exciting. With 11 starters and 4 skill position subs linked in, coaches could go completely no-huddle and run play after play on the fly. The XFL has already instituted clock rules and officiating that will speed up the game, but with this new development, we’ll be seeing lightning-fast offenses that can seize the initiative and catch defenses off guard.

XFL trainers better start adding more cardio to the team’s workouts, and play-callers will need to stay on top of their offenses. Some of the more offensive-minded coaches in this league like Pep Hamilton and Marc Trestman should have a ball with this.

The XFL brand of football coming in February is shaping up to be something special.

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Matt Nagashima has been covering the XFL since before the 2019 Draft, and has witnessed history being made as a Credentialed Reporter for the Dallas Renegades. While he is engrossed with the X's and O's, the roster building and more, it has always been his goal to keep the players first in mind in coverage, showing the human aspect of this sport behind all the action on the field. With Dany Garcia and Dwayne The Rock Johnson now at the helm, he's excited to see all the opportunities that this league will create for players to showcase their talent and make their dreams come true.



  1. Max Levy

    December 18, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Anything about cutoff time though?

  2. Joe

    December 18, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    could be interesting although I would rather see no speakers in helmets and players
    drawing plays in the dirt. Either way, we will all see it come February.

  3. John Johnson

    December 18, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Max is right about the cutoff. They could kill the feeds to the headsets either with a certain amount of time on the play clock or upon the snap of the ball. Don’t know how the NFL handles that, though.

    • Erik Watkins

      December 29, 2019 at 3:53 pm

      The NFL headsets cut off when the play clock hits 15. There’s a man in the booth that flips the switch when that happens.

  4. Bryan

    December 20, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    There is no talk about refs having earpieces and mics? I have always thought if the refs had a direct feed coming the booth then there would be no need for the refs to do booth reviews and take up a bunch of unneeded time trying to figure out what the right call is.

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