We finally made it to 2020 and the league is ramping up in a big way. In fact, all eight teams just arrived in Houston for the league’s first training camp. On the latest episode of ‘This Week in the XFL‘ we spoke about the possibility that the rule book would be coming this Tuesday, now the news has been confirmed.
The league has stated that the rules will be released the morning of January 7th. There will also be a conference call at 2pm EST with Commissioner Luck and Dean Blandino (Head of Officiating) to discuss the news rules.
With the training camps kicking off and the first game around the corner this is the perfect time to drop the rule set. It’s been a long journey to this point. We we’re lucky enough to attend The Spring League back in March when the league first started testing their rule set. This was before they had players, team names or logos. Now, here we are.
Over all, from the rules they’ve been testing we can tell you one thing. The games are going to be fast-paced and full of offense. You can take a look at some of the rules they’ve been testing below, a lot of which will most likely land in the official rule-set.
Unlike the AAF, the XFL will have kickoffs. From the looks of it, it seems to be similar to the CFL. There would be a 5 yard halo-rule, with no fair catch.
25 Second Play Clock
The league is looking to create a fast-paced game. How do you accomplish that? Force the teams to play faster with a quicker game clock. Moving the play clock to 25 seconds is quite a feat. This would be the shortest play clock of any football league. In fact, it beats out the original XFL by 10 seconds. After speaking with some players, the offense seems to love this, whereas the defense does not seem as pleased.
Similar to the kickoff, there will still be a 5 yard halo rule with no fair catch. One thing to remember, is the 5 yard halo is dependent on the ball and not the player. Meaning, if the ball hits the ground and bounces towards the kicking team, the players will need to retreat until the receiving team picks up the ball.
Unlike the NFL, the XFL will not utilize kickers after a touchdown. Instead the scoring team will have three options:
This will give the opposing team more chances to get back into the game, which should create a more exciting game for the fans. An interesting aspect of this is also how they would handle interceptions that result in a score. If this is to happen, the defense would receive the amount of points that the offense was attempting. For instance, if XFL Houston is going for a 3 point attempt and XFL Seattle intercepts and runs it back, Seattle would receive three points.
As of now, it seems that the XFL is testing the ability to have multiple forward passes. All passes would need to be performed behind the line of scrimmage. If the QB passes to another player and becomes the receiver they will be treated as any other player and would no longer be protected by QB safety rules. This would potentially open up more plays for the backup QB, or at least that is a thought at the moment. If any of the passes are incomplete, the whole play is incomplete.
As part of keeping the game up tempo, the XFL is aware that officiating is going to play a key part of that. There will be a dedicated ball spotter to ensure that time isn’t wasted setting the placement after each play. They will also have a officiant in the booth, much like the AAf and it’s Sky Judge. There will be replay reviews, but they are looking at ways to expedite the process.
Probably the most intriguing innovation they are testing out is new overtime rules. Again, a huge focus that they are working to achieve is keeping all of the games under 3 hours, including overtime. To achieve this, and give each team an opportunity to score they are testing rules similar to hockey and soccer. Both teams offense and defense would be on the field at the same time starting at the 5 yard line. Each team would take turns attempting to score, with each touchdown accounting for one point. If there is a tie after 5 rounds, then it becomes sudden death. Whoever scores first, wins the game.