So normally every year after the Super Bowl is over, I go through this period of sports withdrawal and I become kind of a jerk. I am forced to watch NBA and College Basketball (which by the way all of my teams are HORRIBLE this season). This was going to be especially bad this offseason because Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors) have been injured, Cole Anthony (North Carolina Tarheels) got injured early and is just now returning, and the Cowboys missed the playoffs. So this season from the end of the Super Bowl (February 2nd) to the start of the Hall of Fame Game (August 6th) there won’t be NFL football on at all and College Football won’t start until August 29th of this year. Insert the XFL!
Less than a week after the Super Bowl a new (well sort of new) football league enters into the equation…the XFL. Now, this isn’t your WWF smash mouth train wreck we saw in the early 2000’s. I would like to reiterate that, this is NOT the old, failed, dumb, dangerous XFL. This is a carefully thought out league run by Oliver Luck and Vince McMahon that will end up looking more like a farm league for the NFL more than anything else. This is a place where young guys can get better and more prepared for the NFL and older guys can still play football in hopes of getting picked up in the offseason. The season starts tomorrow and ends on April 26th with the Championship game. Every team plays each other and each team plays every team in their division twice. This is how football scheduling should be but we would need far more games in the NFL for this to happen. There are a total of 8 teams and 10 weeks of football.
|Point After Attempts||Kick – 3yd line (1pt)|
Offensive Play – 3yd line (2pts)
|Kick – 15yd Line (1pt)|
Offensive Play – 2yd line (2pts)
Offensive Play – 2yd line (1pt)
5yd line (2pts)
10yd line (3pts)
|Passing||Laterals/Backwards passes are allowed as well as one forward pass.||Laterals/Backwards passes are allowed as well as one forward pass.||Double forward passes are allowed as well as lateral/backwards pass with two forward passes.|
|What is a catch?||One foot in bounds with control of football||Two feet in bounds with control of the ball||One foot in bounds while controlling the ball|
|Who gets the ball first?||Coin Toss Determines Possession||Coin Toss Determines Possession||Home Team always has the first choice|
|Touchbacks||Team starts on 25yd line||Team starts on 25yd line||Team starts on 35yd line|
|Challenges||Each team gets one with a second if the first one works||Each coach gets two challenges with a third added if the original two are successful||No Challenges|
|Timeouts||Three per half||Three per half||Two per half|
|Punt Touchbacks||Goes to the 20yd line||Goes to the 20yd line||Goes to the 35yd line|
|Kicking||Players move once ball is kicked||Players move once ball is kicked||Players move once the ball is caught or first touched|
There are plenty of other changes that we haven’t covered that we will continue to write about over time. The point is that the game is still the same but there are some real differences between the three levels of football. I watched the first weekend of games and have to say that I was not only impressed at the quality of play, but am excited to see the future for the league.
It’s really not just the rules that are different in the XFL. The way the games are set up are the way football should be broadcast. You hear into the booths all the time and there are interviews with the plays and coaches throughout the game. Usually after one player scores a touchdown they will interview them after the touchdown. It’s actually pretty interesting. It definitely seems like there could be a future for a lot of these changes in the NFL as well.