16 January 2001
Reality 101
A Reality-based View of the XFL's Rulebook

Bamaslammer - XFLBoard.com Team Reporter

This is a class they must have skipped for journalism majors at school. The XFL released its official rule changes for the coming season. Contrary to what the press had been suggesting it is not a free for all blood fest with body slams and choke holds.

The most notable changes are on punts. It has long been reported that there will be no fair catches. This is true but the returner will have a 5 yard halo around him that will be off limits to tacklers until after the ball is caught. Also the kicking team will not be allowed to release downfield until after the ball is punted. Another critical change is the fact that after 25 yards travel the ball will be live and can be recovered by the kicking team. This suggests two different strategies. One is to kick the ball high so that your men will be there if there is a muff. The other is to try and boom the ball past the ball carrier. He would have to reverse directions to catch up. Kickers won't be able to kick the ball too far away from the receiver, kicking out of bounds is a penalty.

During the 80's there was a punt returner at Alabama named Greg Richardson. He had feet like lightning but hands of clay. When the opposing team punted you didn't go to the bathroom because the game could turn one way or the other when he was on the field. That's what you're going to see in the XFL.

Other changes involved the QB. There will be no in the grasp rule. The QB's forward progress must be stopped. But the signal caller is still going to be able to do the "give up" slide without getting hammered. The "Head Slap" will be illegal. It was absolutely ignorant to suggest that something like the head slap would be allowed. Sure it was allowed in the olden days but it also caused major neck injuries. Not even the WWF wants to see people put in wheel chairs.

The bump and run will make a return to pro football. The recent rule changes in the NFL passing game have helped turn journeyman quarterbacks like Elvis Gerbach and Rich Gannon into superstars. Some have suggested this was done purposefully to offset the retirement of quarterback legends like Marino, Elway, and Jim Kelly. For two years I have watched defensive backs throwing up their hands in frustration while mediocre receivers put up Jerry Rice like numbers. Not in the XFL. Receivers will have to fight through the DB to get clear. To keep the DB's from sitting on the receivers too much one offensive player can be in forward motion prior to the snap of the ball outside the tackles. This is similar to the rule in the Arena league where a WR will get a running start off the line of scrimmage.

From the early days of the XFL in Birmingham the local press has served up more garbage than my sink disposal. How many more times will the XFL have to prove them wrong before they quit embarrassing themselves and their profession.