Recently, the XFL released its rules for the upcoming 2020 season. Touting the major changes as “Five Gameplay Innovations,” the XFL is intent on making its brand of professional football more enjoyable to experience. Many of the rule changes are geared towards making the game a much faster-paced product to consume. The idea is to play as entertaining a game as possible, with no ties, in under three hours. The rules have caused quite a stir in the XFL fan community, as anticipation is building for the season. But which of the new innovations will be the most popular? Which will breed the most controversy? Which might find its way into other football leagues?
Here is a quick review of the Gameplay Innovations:
- Conversions: Teams will no longer kick, but will go for one, two or three points after a score.
- Double-Forward Pass: Teams will be allowed to throw the ball forward more than once if the passes remain behind the line of scrimmage.
- Kickoffs: Both the kicking a receiving team will line up on the receiving side of the 50-yard line. Touchbacks will be brought out to the 35-yard line. Out of bounds kicks will be placed at the 45-yard line of the receiving team.
- Punts: Players cannot release until the ball is punted. Touchbacks will be placed at the 35 instead of the traditional 20-yard line.
- Overtime: Shootout-style, Overtime scores are worth two points each. Teams alternate one possession at a time. Each possession begins at the opponents’ 5-yard line. Overtime continues until there is a winner.
One Rule to Rule them All:
The most popular innovation will likely be the conversion attempt. Teams that are trailing by nine points are now only one score away from tying the game and forcing overtime. This will lead to more exciting finishes and lots of scorigami on the scoreboard. (Scorigami is a unique total that has never been scored in a game before.) Conversions will influence everything from in-game strategy to fantasy betting. Point spreads will be very difficult to calculate and cover. The over is likely to be very popular. Going into games with very unpredictable outcomes will make the XFL extremely fun to watch.
The Least of These
The least popular and most controversial rule, at first anyway, will be the double forward pass. Football purists will scoff at this change, claiming that the XFLis not “real” football. But, that’s the point, isn’t it? The XFL is supposed to be football reimagined. The double forward pass will initially be difficult to embrace because it is drastically different, but eventually it will allow for a deeper and more intricate playbook, and more highlight reel plays.
The One That Will Get Stolen
The NFL brass will likely be monitoring the success of the new rules. The emphasis of the XFL’s new rules has been to innovate the game and promote player safety. With the recent early retirement of several high profile NFL players, the league will be looking to make an even safer game. The XFL rule that will most likely end up in the NFL is the kickoff rule. It will bring excitement back to the kicking game, and will reduce concussions. It may take several years, but expect the XFL kickoff to end up in the NFL eventually.
Find all of the rules and further explanation on XFL.com