Due to Coronavirus, Sunday’s Seattle Dragons home game will be played without fans

Seattle, WA – Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced a ban on gatherings and events of more than 250 people in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties in an effort to try to contain the Coronavirus outbreak.

Inslee said it is “very likely” the ban could be extend beyond March and could be expanded in the days to come.

“The ban covers gatherings for social, recreational, spiritual and other matters,” Inslee said.

Shortly afterward, the XFL announced that Sunday’s Seattle Dragons, LA Wildcats game would go ahead, but would  be played in front of an empty stadium.

The Seattle Dragons will be offering refunds to single game ticket holders. All Dragons Season Ticket Members will be offered refunds or credit toward a Dragons’ game during the 2021 XFL season.

XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck fully expects a “Year 2”

Oliver Luck
XFL Commissioned Oliver Luck (Credit: XFL.com)

Oliver Luck spoke at the NFL agent’s seminar at the NFL Combine. Aside from revealing he fully expects the XFL to continue on to “Year 2,” something that comes as no surprise to most people, he also revealed details of what to expect leading up to the next XFL season:

  • Luck is fully expecting the XFL to continue in year 2.
  • The league will use invite only camps and a draft similar o Year 1.
  • 200 current XFL players were on an NFL roster in 2019.
  • Teams will retain rights to players. This implies that if a player goes to another league after the XFL season, and then returns to the XFL, their rights will still be tied to the team they were with before.
  • One of the benefits of using a “Team 9” was to save money by not flying in players for workouts.
  • Luck emphasized that the XFL is a standalone league, and not a developmental league or competitor to the NFL.
  • Luck also emphasized no year removed eligibility as with the NFL, and that players can use XFL as a way to “bet on themselves.”

Original Tweet is below.

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(Updated) Johnny Manziel begs Oliver Luck to take him into the XFL… and then his Twitter account is removed

Late Friday evening, Johnny Manziel tweeted out “Oliver Luck. If ya wanna boost your ratings to another level just send me the contract tomorrow and we’re in there. Like I said YEARS ago… XFL2020 give the people what they want.”

A few hours after tweeting this plea, Manziel’s Twitter account appears to have been removed.

Either Manziel was having a rough night, or his account was hacked.

Manziel was a standout quarterback for Texas A&M, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2012. He was drafted 22nd overall in the 2014 draft by the Cleveland Brows where he played two seasons Manziel struggled both on and off the field. Later he played for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes, and most recently for the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football. He is currency a free agent.

At this point we do not have clarification of this tweet from Manziel or his agent.

Update: about twenty hours after he initially tweeted the request for Oliver Luck to send him an XFL contract, Manziel’s Twitter account was restored. However, the tweet to Oliver Luck was no longer present. Instead, Manziel tweeted two new messages saying he, “loves trollin,” and “have zero desire to play any football these days. Just love stirring up controversy.”

XFL Television Viewership is Strong

In the second week of the XFL, the television viewing numbers dropped but remain very respectable.

Here’s a ratings comparison of all broadcasts from Week 1 to Week 2 of the XFL:

Week 1
DC at Seattle, ABC: 3.3 million viewers
L.A. at Houston, FOX: 3.2 million viewers
Tampa Bay at New York, FOX: 3.4 million viewers
St. Louis at Dallas, ESPN: 2.495 million viewers

Week 2
New York at D.C., ABC: 2.1 million viewers
Tampa Bay at Seattle, Fox: 2.3 million viewers
Dallas at  Los Angeles, ABC: 2.397 million viewers
St. Louis at Houston, FS1:  1.359 million viewers

This is the Reader’s Digest version of the story. The detailed version is a little more interesting.

While the ratings dropped on FOX and FS1, the XFL still outdrew other sports on television in that time slot. On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Vipers versus Seattle Dragons game on FOX drew 2.324 million viewers and the St. Louis Battlehawks versus Houston Roughnecks game on Sunday (on FS1) drew 1.359 viewers. Notably, the FS1 game outdrew two college basketball games, as the Iowa-Minnesota and Utah-Oregon games did not draw even half the viewers as the XFL did.

In week one, the FOX Saturday game drew 3.2 million viewers, so from week to week, the viewership dropped by nearly one million. The Sunday game in week one was on regular FOX and drew 3.3 million viewers. This is a huge difference to week two but, the channels were different and FS1 has a smaller reach than FOX, a regular broadcast channel.

If there isn’t a significant drop in viewership in week three, the XFL will have settled on a good level of viewers in order to build their brand and move forward as a league.

Last year, the Alliance of American Football drew 2.9 million viewers for its first game, but saw ratings plummet afterward. Fortunately for the XFL, they have a much better television deal than the AAF.

After the first AAF game aired on CBS, the broadcasts switched to cable networks and streaming services such as TNT, NFL Network, CBS Sports Network and the B/R Live streaming service. On the other hand, the XFL will air mainly on broadcast television for its entire season.

The XFL always felt their game broadcasts had to at least be competitive in the time slots where they aired. So far, this is very true. There may be some concession made to this guideline when sports fans inevitably focus on March Madness next month. The XFL already expects to lose viewers to the very popular annual college basketball tournament.

Suddenly the “Belles of the Ball” the St. Louis BattleHawks are turning them away

Jordan Ta'amu
Jordan Ta’amu and the BattleHawks are eyeing down their home opener in Week 3. (Credit XFL.com)

ST. LOUIS – The BattleHawks are living the high life in the city of St. Louis, and popularity of the team seems to have risen to a level that is too much to handle.

The team’s first home game to be played in The Dome is now a sellout at 28,000 fans. The sellout is for the entire lower bowl, and BattleHawks president Kurt Hunzeker says they aren’t going to open the upper bowl.

In essence, the BattleHawks will turn away paying fans, even though there are perfectly good seats available. However, the BattleHawks front office feels there are good reasons, mainly logistical, but also aesthetics.

“The upper deck, logistical issues involved there. A lot of it is customer service, a lot of it is manpower, a lot from an aesthetic standpoint,” Hunzeker explained.  “We’re going to dim out the upstairs. People will see an intimate environment, which is what the XFL wanted. A great game experience and having 28,000 fans on top of the action.”

Last week, Seattle set the XFL 2020 attendance record with just over 29,000 fans in CenturyLink Field. Now, with St. Louis capping their attendance at 28,000, Seattle’s record is safe.

Other than missing a chance for a statistical win, you would think the BattleHawks front office must feel they are missing an opportunity to introduce additional St. Louis fans to  their special “fan friendly” game day experience.

Limiting media

In addition to limiting the amount of fans that can take in the opening game, the BattleHawks are also limiting the number of media representatives that are being credentialed for the game.

“We had our only St. Louis reporter denied credentials because we were told that the media demand was far greater than they could manage,” XFLBoard.com senior editor Mark Nelson said. “We understand the limitations they have, but this makes it hard for us to cultivate a good relationship with St. Louis. In fact, we have noticed all along that they seem to be too busy to deal with even the smallest request.”

Nelson also said that XFLBoard.com, which features a large number of player stories, is having trouble arranging interviews through the St. Louis team.

“Our requests are wholly unfulfilled,” Nelson said. “We simply stopped asking. This is mainly why you don’t see a lot of BattleHawks players on our podcast, or featured in stories on our pages. We can’t connect with them effectively.”

Apparently, the “Belle of the Ball” St. Louis BattleHawks has such a full dance card that they can’t make time for  everyone.

More missed opportunities.

XFL Trading Cards – “Topps Now”

Since the XFL has partnered with the trading card company Topps to produce their inaugural season card set, we await the set issue expected in early March.

However, that hasn’t stopped Topps from issuing special XFL cards in their “Topps Now” platform.

Launched in 2016, the Topps NOW platform offers print-to-order cards commemorating moments, milestones and other notable events in sports.

Each series of XFL “Topps Now“cards is only available for a short window, or even shorter if they are quickly sold out. The allure for collectors is these cards are “short prints” and could potentially increase in value.

New XFL “Topps Now” are issued every Monday. Be sure to check back at the start of the week to see the offerings.

There’s something new on the sidelines of the XFL DC Defender’s

Dragon Seats
Dragon Seats heated benches help improve safety, performance, and comfort for athletes in all weather conditions.

“Dragon Seats™”, the manufacturer and provider of patented heated and cooling sports benches to 19 NFL Member Clubs and 40 Division I college programs, announces its partnership with the DC Defenders of the XFL. During the inaugural 2020 XFL season, beginning Saturday, February 8th 2020, Dragon Seats™ will outfit the Defenders with eight of its proprietary heated benches with helmet warming and heated foot deck accessories for all five home DC Defenders games at Audi Field in Washington D.C over the 10 game season.

Come Saturday, the Defenders and the away sidelines will have 4 Dragon Seats benches (8 in total) that provide a slew of perks that a traditional sports bench can’t offer.

  • A heating system designed to warm the entire bench to keep player’s body temperatures up even in extreme weather conditions.
  • Heated foot decks providing a steady stream of hot air so that the player is warmed from both the back and front while seated.
  • “Hot Hats,” which are warming poles that players can rest their helmets on to keep the interior padding warm. Unlike a cold helmet, a warm helmet fits properly and can help protect players in freezing temperatures.
  • Ergonomically designed seating for additional comfort and support.

“We are thrilled to partner with the DC Defenders of the XFL to bring our patented heated bench technology to the DC Defenders and XFL athletes for their inaugural season. The excitement around Audi Field is incredible, and we can’t wait to get started with a new league. The XFL is putting player safety and performance at the forefront, and we’re proud to support the new XFL with our heated benches that will be on both the home and visiting sidelines at Audi Field,” says Franklin Floyd, chief operating officer at Dragon Seats™, based in New York City. “With a season that starts in February and continues into the cold winter months that can see freezing temperatures, we’re confident that our heated bench technology will make a big impact on player safety and performance.”

About Dragon Seats™:

Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Bourne Creation Inc. dba “Dragon Seats™” started as the sideline bench provider for the Cleveland Browns in 2005 and now has a 15-year track record providing safety, performance and comfort to athletes across the NFL and NCAA and other leagues. The company’s patented heated and cooling bench technology has helped it become the #1 bench in sports. Dragon Seats™ can be found on the sidelines of 19 NFL Member Clubs, 40 NCAA Division I football programs, and most recently baseball dugouts, hospitality spaces and one XFL club. In total Dragon Seats™ provides over 400 benches in 75 locations across the United States at all levels of competition. To learn more click here: www.dragonseats.com.

XFL Reveals Team 9 Details

Team 9 head coach Bart Andrus
Team 9 head coach Bart Andrus

The XFL has established “Team 9,” a squad where the main eight XFL teams will draw their replacement players.

The league is touting Team 9 as being a benefit “of the rest of the eight-team league … and for 40 players still chasing their football dreams.”

Team 9 will be based in Arlington, Texas, and will practice at Globe Life Park, home of the Dallas Renegades. While Team 9 will share some resources with the Renegades, such as training and medical services, it will largely function as a separate entity.

Team 9 will be overseen by XFL director of scouting Eric Galko and coached by Bart Andrus. Andrus has coached in the NFL, CFL, NFL Europe, college and other spring leagues. He was an NFL offensive assistant in Tennessee and St. Louis, won an NFL Europe championship as head coach of Amsterdam in 2005, and was a CFL head coach with the Toronto Argonauts. Andrus also worked in NFL Europe with Luck, and thus is familiar with the “Team 9” concept.

“It was lifted directly from my experience with NFL Europe,” Luck said. “We literally called it ‘Team Dallas’ because it was in Dallas. The genesis of that was with teams in Europe, American players needed work permits. You couldn’t pick up a left tackle off the street in Scotland. We needed a group of guys who could practice and literally jump on a plane.”

The XFL Team 9 roster doesn’t include specialists, i.e., no kickers, punters, or long snappers.

The human performance company EXOS will also work with Team 9 daily to improve strength and conditioning in an effort to cut down on potential injuries.

The league also plans to utilize Team 9 to test new technology, including equipment, and measure other physiological trends.

Team 9 Operation

Eric Galko said, “Team 9 is not meant to be a waystation,  where teams can send down or stash players. The XFL goal is to build a Team 9 with the players that are familiar and accessible to teams — and prepared to play.”

For the first two weeks of the season, XFL teams are encouraged to pull from Team 9 to fill an open spot, but it’s not required. For example a team might be more comfortable signing a receiver cut in training camp who’s not on Team 9, and the league understands that perspective. Since all XFL teams should be familiar with Team 9 players by the second week of play, after Week 2 it will be a league requirement to utilize Team 9 players to plug an open roster spot.

As XFL teams dip into this resource, Team 9 will constantly get restocked to stay at 40 players. The league is also planning for the normal attrition that comes with a football season, as players get banged up and are limited in practice.

Interestingly, after Week 5, all Team 9 players will be absorbed by the eight teams allowing rosters to increase from 52 to 57 players. (Game day active rosters will remain at 46 players.) Then, Team 9 will be reloaded with approximately 36 players to finish out the season.

Team 9 practices will begin Feb. 3. Players will be available to XFL teams for private workouts every other Monday starting Feb. 10.

Current Team 9 Roster

QB Joe Callahan
QB CJ Collins
QB Garrett Fugate
QB Marcus McDade
RB Darnell Holland
RB Ray Lawry
WR Davon Grayson
WR TreyDonte Hill
WR Taivon Jacobs
WR Dalton Ponchillia
WR Andrew Verboys
WR Carl Whitley
TE Connor Davis
TE Pharoah McKever
OC Ryan Anderson
OG Korren Kirven
OG Terronne Prescod
OT Nick Callander
OT Gerhard de Beer
OT Brandon Haskin
OT Patrick Lawrence
OT Rod Taylor
DE Jesse Aniebonam
DE Martin Ifedi
DE Alex Jenkins
DT Daryle Banfield
DT Shane Bowman
DT Andrew Stelter
DT Trenton Thompson
LB Markus Jones
LB Darnell Leslie
DB Bryce Cheek
DB Reggie Cole
DB Marwin Evans
DB Tyree Holder
DB Josh Jenkins
DB Derrick Jones
DB Jermaine Ponder
DB Robenson Therezie

XFL Tampa Bay Vipers report on challenges of a shortened play clock

Credit XFL.com

By all reports, the Tampa Bay Vipers were making an extraordinary effort to prepare for the planned shortened play clock that will be ever present when the league kicks off next month.

By incorporating a “big red 25-second play clock” that was counting down during the team’s practice, players and coaches were able to become more accustomed to the shortened play clock, and the XFL’s fast-paced brand of football was tested.

Players are discovering they have to make an effort to keep pace and quickly prepare for the next play.

“We gotta make sure everybody’s aligned… that’s the biggest thing,” tight end Nick Truesdell said. “If somebody’s way down the field and they’ve got to run back, we gotta be aware of that because we’ve got a short amount of time.”

Truesdell also pointed out that the XFL’s innovative in-helmet coach-to-player communications will assist the offense to get ready for the next play.

“We’re not getting in the huddle, so we got to make sure we hear everything and get lined up quick,” he said.

The shortened time between plays is also effecting the coaches, as Vipers offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo pointed out.

“There’s no doubt that the play clock is a concern. You have to, as a playcaller, go through a number of different scenarios. Where the ball’s at, the down and distance, we’re in field goal range, and all those things have to be processed rather quickly. You have to be two or three steps ahead of the game.”

The shortened play clock is one of the most exciting changes the XFL has made for their upcoming season. We can’t wait to see how this effects the quality and pace of the game.

Source: XFL.com

XFL Rules

America’s favorite game is evolving, and that means less stall and more ball. When the XFL Opening Weekend kicks off on February 8, The XFL will feature exciting gameplay innovations that deliver what football fans have told us they want – a faster pace of play and more action.

Today’s announcement of the XFL rules follows a rigorous 18-month research and development process. First, the league gathered ideas and input from a variety of qualified and credible sources, including current and former football coaches, players, officials, broadcasters, medical professionals, and sports industry experts – along with, a nationwide survey of more than  6,000 football fans. Then, over the last year, the XFL tested a wide range of rules and gameplay options under game conditions on the field of play.

The gameplay innovations that resulted from this intensive effort put the XFL in a position to offer more of the excitement and on-the-field elements that fans love – meaningful plays, minimal downtime, heightened competition, and enhanced player safety. The XFL is doing this in a manner that allows them to stay true to the game America loves most and without any gimmicks.

Below, we have highlighted some of the XFL’s key rules:

YouTube video

Kickoff

  • The kicker kicks from the 25-yard line and must kick the ball in the air and in play between the opponent’s 20-yard line and the end zone.
  • The coverage team lines up on the return side 35-yard line and the return team lines up on the 30-yard line. Each team must have exactly 3 players outside the hash marks on both sides of the ball and cannot move until the ball is caught by the returner.
  • Out of bounds kicks and kicks that fall short of the 20-yard line will result in an illegal procedure penalty, taking the ball all the way out to the kicking team’s 45 yard line.
  • Players can move when the ball is touched by the returner or 3 seconds after the ball touches the ground (when the official waves his hand down).
  • If the ball is kicked into the end zone and is downed it is a “Major” touchback and the ball is placed at the return side 35-yard line.
  • If the ball bounces in bounds and then out of the end zone or is downed in the end zone, the ball is placed at the return side 15-yard line.
  • If a player on the return team touches the ball and it goes out of bounds, the ball is spotted where it went out of bounds.
  • If a team wishes to run an onside kick, it must indicate this to the official before the play and the two teams will be permitted to line up using traditional NFL rules (i.e. 10 yards apart from the kicking team). There will be no surprise onside kicks.

Current NFL/College Rule

  • The NFL kicks off from the 35-yard line, with 5 players on each side of the ball. The ball can be kicked out of the end zone for a touchback or out of bounds and placed at the 40-yard line.
  • College also kicks off from the 35-yard line and allows return teams to take a touchback for any kickoff fair caught inside the 25-yard line.

Rationale

  • In college football, kickoffs are only 6% of plays but lead to 21% of concussions. To eliminate the safety issues with kickoffs, the NCAA and NFL created more opportunities for touchbacks. The increase in touchbacks naturally leads to fewer returns which means fewer meaningful plays. The XFL’s proposed rule change will encourage more kick returns while making the play less dangerous by eliminating the 30-yard sprint to collision.

Coverage teams will line up just five yards apart to make the kickoff safer for players. Touchback penalties will be in place to incentivize returnable kicks and the potential for the big plays.

YouTube video

POINT-AFTER TOUCHDOWN

XFL Rule

  • After a touchdown, the team has the option of running a play from the 2, 5, or 10-yard line, worth 1, 2, or 3 points respectively. The team must run an offensive play and no kicking plays are allowed.
  • If the defense is able to cause a turnover and return the ball to the opponent’s end zone, the resulting score is equal to the number of points the offense was attempting to score on its PAT.

Current NFL Rule

  • In the NFL, teams can elect whether to go for a kicked extra point or go for a 2-point conversion.

Rationale

  • The NFL has a near automatic play with its extra-point kick. The XFL has created excitement by replacing a kick with a play from scrimmage. To provide even more excitement, we have added the opportunity for a 3-point play, which means that an 18-point deficit is still a two-possession game. Fans have told the XFL that the 3-point play creates more strategy and innovation for the coaches.

 

YouTube video

PUNT

XFL Rule

  • Punting team cannot release past the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.
  • Gunners must line up at the line of scrimmage and are permitted to move laterally once the ball is snapped until it is kicked.
  • Defenders over the gunner cannot cross the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.
  • If the ball goes out of bounds inside the 35-yard line, it is a “Major” touchback and the ball goes to the 35-yard line.
  • If a punted ball lands in the opponent’s end zone or goes out of the end zone the result is a “Major” touchback, and the ball goes out to the 35-yard line.
  • Fair catches are permitted (though disincentivized – see Rationale)

Current NFL/College Rule

  • The NFL allows players that are the end man on the line of scrimmage (often called the “gunner”) to release once the ball is snapped, and all other players release when the ball is kicked. If a ball is kicked out of bounds it is placed at the spot it leaves the field of play.
  • College allows all players to leave once the ball is snapped. If a ball is kicked out of bounds it is placed at the spot it leaves the field of play.

Rationale

  • Fans told the XFL that they didn’t like the amount of punts (specifically punts in an opponent’s territory) and how many punts did not have a return (47% ended in fair catch, out of bounds, or touchback). The XFL has instituted two rule changes to address these concerns: all out of bounds kicks create a touchback (Major to 35), and no punt-coverage players can release until the ball is kicked. This will create an average distance between the punt return and the nearest defender to 11 yards, vs. similar leagues of 6 yards, creating less reason to fair catch.
  • The XFL touchback changes will create less incentive for teams to punt in an opponent’s territory. In NFL and College, touchbacks go to the 20, so teams will risk less vs. the XFL on punts. Our coaches will be incentivized to go for it on 4th down because there is a higher likelihood of a positive punt return, and no ability to “pin” the receiving team with a coffin corner kick.

 

YouTube video

DOUBLE-FORWARD PASS

XFL Rule

  • If a team completes a forward pass behind the line of scrimmage, that team may throw a second forward pass, as long as the ball has at no time crossed the line of scrimmage.
  • Once the ball has passed the line of scrimmage, no forward passes are permitted.

Current NFL/College Rule

  • The NFL and College only allow only one forward pass per play.

Rationale

  • The “Double Pass” is one of the most exciting plays in football and the XFL aims to add excitement while maintaining traditional football. The Double Forward Pass Behind the Line of Scrimmage updates the rules to make double passes less risky because the first pass may fall incomplete rather than becoming a fumbled lateral.

 

YouTube video

OVERTIME

XFL Rule

  • Overtime shall consist of 5 “Rounds”, staged in alternating single-play possessions as is customary in NHL shootouts or MLS penalty kicks. A “Round” will consist of one offensive play per team. Each possession starts at the opponent’s 5-yard line and the offensive team has one play to score. The team with more points after 5 rounds is the winner.
    • If a team has been mathematically eliminated before all 5 rounds have been completed, the game ends immediately (e.g. If Team A scores on its first 3 attempts and Team B is stopped on its first 3 attempts, then no subsequent plays are necessary).
    • If teams are tied after 5 rounds, then rounds continue until one team is leading at the conclusion of a round, and that team will be the winner.
  • For scoring purposes, each successful overtime score is worth 2 points.
  • The defensive team cannot score. If the offensive team commits a turnover, the play is over immediately.
  • If the defensive team commits a penalty, the offensive team will be allowed to re-attempt from the 1-yard line.
    • Any subsequent penalty committed by the defensive team on any subsequent play, including in future rounds, will result in a score awarded to the offensive team.
  • If the offensive team commits a pre-snap penalty, the ball will be moved back from the original spot, pursuant to regular rules and the play will be re-attempted.
  • If the offensive team commits a post-snap penalty, the play will end and no score will be awarded.
  • There will be a minimum of 20 seconds between plays with the ball-spotting official working in conjunction with TV and Official Review to signal when the next play begins.

Current NFL Rule

  • The NFL has a 10-minute overtime period, where each team must possess, or have the opportunity to possess the ball, unless the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown. A coin toss determines which team will possess the ball first in overtime. If neither team wins in the overtime period, the game ends in a tie.

Rationale

  • NFL overtime can end in a tie and a team’s offense may never see the field. Overtime may also take up to 27 minutes to complete in the NFL. XFL overtime allows both teams to play offense, in under 10 minutes, and always has a winner.

 

5 TIMING CHANGES

25-SECOND PLAY CLOCK

XFL Rule

  • We will implement a 25-second play clock that begins after the ball is spotted for the next play.
    • It takes 7 seconds on average to spot the ball (average 32 second play clock)

Current NFL Rule

  • The NFL has a 40-second play clock that starts when the previous play ends.

Rationale

  • In order to speed up the game, we wanted to minimize the downtime between plays. Our coaching staffs and teams are going to provide what fans want — more football during the game.

COMEBACK PERIOD

XFL Rule

  • Occurs after the 2-Minute Warning in each half.
  • On plays that end in the field of play, the game clock will be stopped until the ball has been spotted and 5 seconds have run off of the play clock.
  • On incomplete passes and out of bounds plays, the game clock will stop completely until the ball is snapped.

Current NFL/College Rule

  • The NFL has a 2-minute warning with 2 minutes left in each half, which stops the clock. When a player goes out of bounds or there is an incompletion inside the 2-minute warning, the clock stops until the ball is snapped on the next play.
  • College stops the clock after every first down for the Referee to re-spot the ball.

Rationale

  • The most exciting part of the game is the end of each half, and the XFL aims to maximize this excitement. By stopping the game clock after every play, the team that is trailing has a clear way to maximize its remaining time and still have the ability to use its complete playbook, including runs or plays in the middle of the field.
  • Also, a team cannot “run out the clock” at the end of the game until the opponent has no timeouts and there is 1 minute left (5 second run off on the play clock, so 20 seconds can be run off on a play), vs. the NFL, where a game can essentially be ended with 2 minutes left through three kneeldowns that each take 40 seconds off the play clock.

RUNNING GAME CLOCK

XFL Rule

  • Outside the last 2 minutes of each half, the game clock will run after incompletions and out of bounds plays.
  • Aside from incompletions and out of bounds plays, game clock rules outside the last 2 minutes of each half are the same as the NFL.

Current NFL/College Rule

  • The NFL game clock stops after every out of bounds play until the Referee re-spots the ball, and on incomplete passes until the next play begins.
  • College stops the clock after every 1st down and when a player goes out of bounds until the Referee re-spots the ball. The clock also stops after an incomplete pass until the ball is snapped on the following play.

Rationale

  • The XFL is aiming to play each game in under 3 hours, but with the same amount of total plays. In order to achieve this goal, the XFL is treating incompletions and out of bounds plays the same as plays that end in the field of play.

TIMEOUTS

XFL Rule

  • Each team will have 2 one-minute timeouts per half.

Current NFL/College Rule

  • 3 timeouts per half

Rationale

  • With our rule changes in the last 2 minutes, coaches should not need as many timeouts to help create a comeback. By eliminating one timeout per half, we limit the number of stoppages during the most exciting part of the game. If a play is reviewed and overturned by replay during a timeout, the team that took the timeout will not be charged.

REPLAY RULINGS

XFL Rule

  • The XFL will have no coaches’ challenges and all plays will be subject to review from the Replay Official, who will be stationed in a booth above the field.
  • Reviewable plays are limited to: (a) Plays involving possession. (b) Plays involving touching of either the ball or the ground.. (c) Plays governed by the goal line. (d) Plays governed by the boundary lines. (e) Plays governed by the line of scrimmage. (f) Plays governed by the line to gain.. (g) Number of players on the field at the snap. (h) Game administration. (1) Penalty enforcement. (2) Proper down. (3) Spot of a foul. (4) Status of the game clock. (i) Disqualification of a player. This list of reviewable plays is identical to those in the NFL prior to 2019.
    • Exception: The Replay Official may correct obvious errors involving player safety at any point throughout the game.
    • Exception: The Replay Official may correct any egregious obvious error that may have a significant impact on the outcome of the game in the last five minutes of the 4th quarter or during overtime.

NFL Rule

Coaches’ Challenge:

  • Each team is permitted two challenges that will initiate Instant Replay reviews: (a) The Head Coach can initiate a challenge by throwing a red flag onto the field of play before the next legal snap or kick. (b) A team that commits a foul that delays the next snap can no longer challenge the previous play. The non-fouling team can still challenge the previous play, and both teams can benefit from the review. (c) The Head Coach may challenge on-field rulings listed in Section 3, except for those plays that only the Replay Official can challenge (Article 2). (d) Each challenge requires an available team timeout. A team that is out of timeouts, or has used all its available challenges, may not attempt to initiate a challenge.

Rationale

  • Review/Replay in football officiating is paramount to how fans view the game. To get the play right is of utmost importance to the XFL and our goal is to provide quality reviews at the right times and in a timely fashion. By eliminating coaches’ challenges, we don’t rely on the teams to fix miscues by the officials, and by only allowing “common sense” to be applied to officiating we put the fan first instead of the process.

 

5 COMMON SENSE RULES

ONE FOOT INBOUNDS

XFL Rule

To catch a ball means that a player:

  1. Secures control of a live ball in flight before the ball touches the ground.
  2. Touches the ground in bounds with any part of his body, and then
  3. Maintains control of the ball long enough to enable him to perform an act common to the game, i.e., long enough to pitch or hand the ball, advance it, avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.

Current NFL Rule

  • To gain possession of a loose ball that has been caught, intercepted, or recovered, a player (a) must have complete control of the ball with his hands or arms and (b) have both feet or any other part of his body, other than his hands, completely on the ground inbounds, and, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, perform any act common to the game. It is not necessary that he commit such an act, provided that he maintains control of the ball long enough to do so. This rule applies in the field of play, at the sideline, and in the end zone.

Rationale

  • Catches in the NFL are often up to debate because of timing and control of the football. By simplifying the rules that establish control of the football, we are creating easier ways for officials to determine when a catch is made. When interviewing over 100 players on their opinion, players often said “A catch is made with your hands, not your feet.”

DEDICATED BALL-SPOTTING OFFICIAL

XFL Rule

  • There will be a dedicated Ball Spotting Official who will solely be responsible for quickly spotting the ball and getting a new ball after each play.

Current NFL/College Rule

  • The NFL and College use a seven-official system, with no single official responsible for spotting the ball.

Rationale

  • The NFL cycles a new ball in and out of the game between plays using the entire crew and the ball personnel on the sideline. The average time to operate the spotting of the ball is 12 seconds but it is variable depending on the situation. The Ball Spotting Official standardizes the time it takes to spot the ball and gives the XFL an on-field official with control of the game tempo.

COACH-TO-PLAYER COMMUNICATION

XFL Rule

  • All offensive skill position players (QB, WR, RB, TE) will have a Coach-to-Player helmet receiver.
  • One on-field defensive player will have a Coach-to-Player helmet receiver.
  • The Coach-to-Player system allows a member of the coaching staff in the bench area or the coaches’ booth to communicate to a designated offensive or defensive player with a speaker in his helmet. We will not have a cut off on the communication but will be monitoring for communication between the snap of the ball and the end-of-play whistle.
    • Broadcast partners will have access to this communication and may use it during the game.

Current NFL/College Rule

College:

  • No Coach-to-Player communication

NFL:

  • The Coach-to-Player system allows a member of the coaching staff in the bench area or the coaches’ booth to communicate to a designated offensive or defensive player with a speaker in his helmet. The communication begins once a game official has signaled a down to be over and is cut off when the play clock reaches 15 seconds or the ball is snapped, whichever occurs first.

Rationale

  • By allowing coaches to communicate with all offensive skill players that substitute and change location for each play we can play at a faster pace. Since offense changes much more than defense we only need to adjust the way the offense communicates to players.

SIMPLIFIED ILLEGAL MAN DOWNFIELD

XFL Rule

  • No ineligible player shall be or have been more than three yards beyond the line of scrimmage until a passer throws a legal forward pass that crosses the line of scrimmage. A player is in violation of this rule if any part of his body is beyond the three-yard limit.

Current NFL/College Rule

  • College
    • When, after the snap, a Team A ineligible player immediately charges and contacts an opponent at a point not more than one yard beyond the neutral zone and maintains the contact for no more than three yards beyond the neutral zone.
  • NFL
    • An ineligible offensive player is illegally downfield if: (a) he moves more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage without contacting an opponent (b) after losing contact with an opponent within one yard of the line of scrimmage, he advances more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage (c) after losing contact with an opponent more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage, he continues to move toward his opponent’s goal line.

Rationale

  • This rule has become a more important part of football due to the advent of the RPO (Run Pass Option). Due to the way the rule is traditionally written, it is hard to officiate. The XFL has written the rule to be clearer while also helping teams that run the RPO.

SHORTER HALFTIMES

  • 10-minute break, then back to the action.