The XFL has introduced a series of gameplay innovations aimed at providing fans with a faster-paced, more action-packed experience. Building on the foundation established in 2020, the league has implemented several rule changes in clock management, play reviews, and late-game possession to enhance gameplay and improve the overall fan experience.
This article outlines these XFL rules and highlights their key differences from NFL regulations.
The XFL has reintroduced tiered extra points, offering teams three run/pass-only options after scoring a touchdown. Teams can attempt to score from the 2-yard line for one point, the 5-yard line for two points, or the 10-yard line for three points. In contrast, the NFL offers a single extra point kick attempt or a two-point conversion play from the 2-yard line. Additionally, the XFL awards the defense the same number of points for a touchdown.
The XFL operates with a 35-second play clock, five seconds shorter than the NFL’s 40-second play clock. This change encourages a faster pace of play. The XFL clock starts following incomplete passes and out-of-bounds plays prior to the two-minute warning of each half and stops following first downs after the two-minute warning. This differs from the NFL, where the clock stops following incomplete passes, out-of-bounds plays, and first downs.
The XFL also features a 10-minute halftime, as opposed to the NFL’s 12-minute halftime, and allocates three timeouts per team per half, which is consistent with the NFL.
XFL kickoff rules differ significantly from the NFL. In the XFL, teams begin five yards apart, with the kicking team at the opponent’s 35-yard line and the return team at their own 30-yard line. This arrangement aims to promote player safety and reduce high-speed collisions.
OPTIONS TO RETAIN POSSESSION
After scoring, XFL teams can choose between two options to retain possession: a traditional onside kick (allowed at any time during the game) or a 4th and 15 conversion attempt from their own 25-yard line (only during the 4th quarter). The NFL only allows the traditional onside kick.
DOUBLE FORWARD PASS
The XFL permits a double forward pass if the first pass is completed behind the line of scrimmage. The NFL, however, only allows one forward pass per play.
XFL overtime consists of alternating attempts from the opponent’s 5-yard line, with three attempts per team (two points per score) or until a winner is decided. NFL overtime, on the other hand, follows a sudden-death format, with each team receiving a possession, unless the first possession results in a touchdown or a safety.
Both leagues utilize centralized replay systems, but the XFL allows the Replay Official to correct errors on non-reviewable plays and address player safety concerns at any point during the game. In the NFL, coaches can only challenge specific types of plays and are limited in their ability to address player safety.
For a comprehensive look at the XFL rule book, click here.
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