These XFL rules are noticeably different from the NFL

The Fan News Desk
February 06, 2020 - 11:50 am
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When the XFL's inaugural 2020 season kicks off on Saturday at Audi Field, fans will notice a multitude of rule differences in comparison to what they've been accustomed to from the NFL.

Player-Coach Communications

One of the most notable alterations is the increased communication capabilities between the coach and the skill players on offense.

"In the XFL, they have a 25-second play clock, and every skill player has a mic in their helmet, so the coach can talk to all the skill players at once," DC Defenders radio analyst Logan Paulsen told The Sports Junkies.

Special Teams

Kickoffs and punts have been modified to increase the number of successful kick returns, as well as reduce the number of collisions.

Kickoffs start from the 30-yard line and must land between the opponent's 20-yard line and the pylon. Kicks that go out of bounds and kicks that land short of the 20-yard line will result in a penalty that places the ball at the kicking team's 45-yard line. Kicks that land in the end zone and are downed result in a touchback and the ball being placed on the return team's 35-yard line.

On kickoffs, players cannot move until the returner makes contact with the ball or until three seconds after the ball touches the ground.

Punts that go out of bounds inside the 35-yard line result in a touchback that places the ball back at the 35-yard line. Punts that land within the opposing end zone or land in the opposing end zone and go out of bounds result in a touchback at the 35-yard line. Fair catches are allowed but are not encouraged.

On punts, players can only move laterally along the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.

Replay Review

There will be no coaches challenges. All plays will be subject to review from the skyjudge. 

Reviewable plays include:

  • Any plays involving possession.
  • Plays in either endzone.
  • Plays where the ball carrier goes out of bounds. 
  • Offsides
  • False Starts

The skyjudge can correct errors involving player safety at any time and the skyjudge can correct any blatant error that could decide the game in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.

Running Out The Clock

The 25-second play clock begins after the ball is spotted. Teams can not run out the clock at the end of the game by taking a knee (after a five-second run-off) until all of the opponent's timeouts have been used and there is one minute left (three kneel downs X 20 seconds each).

Overtime

Overtime features single-play "Rounds" (possessions), similar to MLS penalty kicks or NHL shootouts. "Rounds" start at the opponent's five-yard line and the team on offense is given one play to score. The team with the most points after five "Rounds" each is the winner. If the team has been mathematically eliminated, no additional plays are needed. If the teams are tied after all five rounds, additional rounds will continue until one team is ahead at the end of a round, similar to extra innings in MLB.

  • Each score is worth two points.
     
  • The defensive team can't score. A turnover results in end of the attempt.
     
  • Defensive penalties result in a do-over from the one-yard line. An additional defensive penalty results in an automatic score for the offensive team.
     
  • Offensive pre-snap penalties, the ball will be moved back.
     
  • Offensive post-snap penalties result in the end of the attempt.
     
  • Visiting teams will begin overtime on offense.

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