top of page

Breaking down the unique XFL rules. How are they different from the NFL?

The XFL has some unique rules to enhance the entertainment value of its product.

"What we did is listen to fans," XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said in a statement. "And what they told us is that they love this game, but they would like it at a little more of a faster pace and with a little more excitement. They thought there is too much idle time. We tried to listen to what they didn't want, also. They didn't want gimmicks or things that were inauthentic. They also didn't want to be complicit when it comes to player safety. So what we wanted to do is take a great game and make it a little better."

The XFL season kicked off on February 8th with some quality games. The rule changes were noticeable, but one thing Luck said was true; they weren't gimmicks. Here are some of the more notable rule changes in the XFL:

XFL Kickoffs and Punts:

The leagues' rules on kicks and punts were ones they instituted during its second iteration. Players cannot move on punts until the ball is kicked. On kickoffs, players may not move until the returner has the ball. Also, on kickoffs, teams are five yards apart, with the return team on the 30 and the kicking team on the 35. This will make kickoffs less dangerous by eliminating the "30-yard sprint to a collision."

Extra Point Tries:

This rule is right from the now-defunct Alliance of American Football rule book. The XFL does not have kicks for extra points. All tries after touchdowns have to be an offensive play. A team that scores a touchdown has the following options:

1pt. play: Run a play from the 2-yard line

2pt. play: Run a play from the 5-yard line

3pt. play: Run a play from the10-yard line

Five-Round Overtime:

The XFL version of overtime is similar to penalty kicks in the English Premier League of Major League Soccer. Overtime consists of five rounds, with each possession beginning at the five-yard line. Each team runs one play to score per possession. If the score is still tied after the five rounds, teams go to sudden death until one team scores and their opponent does not.

Options to keep the ball:

One of the more unique rules in the XFL is the option to keep possession of the football after scoring. Teams can use the traditional onside kick at any point in the game. In the fourth quarter, a team down by multiple possessions can attempt to keep the ball by converting a 4th and 15 from its 25-yard line.

One foot inbounds:

Unlike the NFL and like the college game, receivers need just one foot in bounds to complete a pass.

There are other rules, but these are likely to be seen most often during the game.


bottom of page