How could the XFL fit a full game within two hours?


One of the most fascinating aspects of the planned return of the XFL in two years comes from proprietor Vince McMahon’s goal of staging a full game within two hours.

That would be a significant accomplishment, but it also would require major changes to the way the clock is operated — if the game will continue to consist of four 15-minute quarters.

McMahon mentioned during the conference call that ended up being a streamed online call-in show that the XFL may eliminate halftime. It may not have to come to that, especially since killing halftime means taking away the natural 12-minute break that encourages fans to spend money on food and drink.

The easiest way to trim a full hour from the XFL experience would be to use a running clock until the final five or two minutes of a half. The clock, for example, would keep moving during each possession, pausing only after a score, punt, or turnover.

Another alternative would be to treat incomplete passes the same way the NFL currently treats plays that end up out of bounds, with the clock stopping until the ball is ready for play. But that alone may not be enough to fit a full game into two hours.

Ultimately, the right combination could be a running clock, until the final five or two minutes of the half, coupled with a shortened play clock that essentially forces teams to run a two-minute drill for the full 60 minutes of clock time. Which would definitely hold the audience in place — and it would definitely create old-school football in one very important way: The quarterback would end up calling the plays.

However it all plays out, this is one of the various intriguing aspects of a league that, if current plans proceed as expected, will launch exactly two years from today.

33 responses to “How could the XFL fit a full game within two hours?

  1. I would like to see a rule that says a team on offense with the lead in the final two minutes must gain positive yardage or the clock stops.

    That’s the kneeling I’m more concerned about eliminating.

  2. The XFL will kill the CFL, finally putting it out of its misery.

    Cities like Toronto, San Antonio and St Louis will have teams and they will eventually merge into the NFL, bumping small market teams out of the NFL.

  3. From everything I’ve read about this league, it won’t have many talented football players and the rules will likely eliminate most football strategies. It will be basically slow, white guys on PEDs hitting and smashing into each other. I’m sure those who tune into WWE will love it.

  4. If they do it the way they do it in Europe, it could be possible. I remember watching the 2014 European Championship of American Football final and there weren’t any commercials or long stoppages and the game flowed very fast. I don’t know if regulation completed in two hours, though.

  5. The issue with your proposed fixes is it results in less football. Fans still want the same amount of football plays. I think less dead time is what they’d look to reduce.

  6. That would be awesome,I just watched the Jags/pats game and couldn’t stand how many commercials there were. It seemed like there was more actual commercial time than game play, I turned it off at one point.

  7. The money hogs at the NFL sell as much ad time as humanly possible and still call it football. Limit the number of ad availabilities during the game. Instead of halftime, take three-three minute breaks after each quarter. Keep the clock running.
    LIMIT THE NUMBER OF INSTANT REPLAY CHALLENGES TO ONE PER HALF, and it a decision isn’t available within :90, the play stands.
    I also would go to college rules with one foot in bounds being a legit replays to see if there were two feet in..
    The NFL has let all the outside forces drive the product. I’m excited to see the XFL come back and bridge the looooooooong off season.

  8. The primary objective of this game seems to be to have a league that doesn’t allow any kneeling.

  9. Don’t have challenges or limit the review to 30 seconds. Reduce the number of commercials and no break should be more than a couple minutes. Start the clock earlier on out of bounds plays and incomplete passes. There are a variety of things that can be done to reduce the overall time to broadcast a game.

  10. So endless commercials intermixed with millionaires paid by those commercials lecturing the rest of us about equality isn’t a recipe for success? I am shocked.

  11. Folks are thinking like the NFL, stop. Think outside the box, as in make up your own rules. The NFL won’t have a hand in this, improvise, innovate, think.

  12. mutohasaposse says:
    January 26, 2018 at 7:44 am
    The issue with your proposed fixes is it results in less football. Fans still want the same amount of football plays. I think less dead time is what they’d look to reduce.


    Actually it would likely be the opposite – more football. NFL game last 3 hours plus and has about 12 minutes of actual football. By speeding up the game you force teams to play because there is less “work stoppage.” While I am not endorsing Florio’s thoughts – some aren’t bad I suppose – I am definitely in favor of a plan that has less down time between plays, including the aforementioned commercials.

  13. Yeah…Vince McMahon is not going to be cutting down on commercials unless all games are part of an expensive streaming subscription package. Have you seen the WWE?

    I like football. I like watching football. I would watch more, not less, if I could. Trying to shorten the game to two hours is one of the last things about current pro football that I would reform if I wanted to garner audience share. The fact that McMahon seems so focused on that as a differentiator is a bit concerning.

  14. Set the time between plays to about 15 seconds, forcing the entire game to be played in the “hurry-up” offense. That would make it more entertaining. Eliminate Punts. You get 4 downs to make 10 yards. If you fail to convert, too bad.

  15. The timing of this league coming back and the fact that Vince McMahon will be the only owner of all 8 teams will put Vince in the position to own 1 of the 4 expansion teams that will happen when London and Mexico City join the NFL. Also at a time when the NFL is becoming more flag football than tackle football it has a chance to gain the NFL fans that want to watch actual football. Talent level will be the biggest drop off but when all players will be in the same talent levels they will perform at a level they wouldn’t perform at in the NFL in essence can produce an entertaining game. The NFL should’ve always had a minor league system where the XFL could take up that roll. There has been the USFL and WNFL but the NFL always looks at the bottom line instead of player development. There are hundreds if not thousands of athletes that never stepped onto a college field because they didn’t have book smarts but football smarts. Some will argue that you have to have a certain level of intelligence to learn a playbook and I agree, but there are a lot of talented athletes that will never understand 2 plus 2 but can master an NFL playbook. I actually believe this go round of the XFL will be successful.

  16. Maybe get rid of the three minutes of commercials followed by a I return to action for a touch back kick off, followed by three minutes of commercials. Rinse, repeat.

    And why are people already dumping on this league and idea??? Fat old white guys on ped’s? Sometimes it’s just best to keep your mouth shut.

  17. Well it’ll probably be scripted so fitting it into a time slot wouldn’t be any different than anything else that is scripted on television.

    Just like the last time I’ll have zero expectations. We’ll see if I watch more than 1 quarter (mostly out of curiosity.) this time around. I wish D2 or D3 college football played their schedule from April until August. That would be about perfect to tide me over until camp opens.

  18. Why is everyone in such a hurry? I love football. I enjoy sitting around for 3 hours watching a game. Am I alone? Thumbs up if you enjoy a good 3-hour football session. Thumbs down if you want it done in 2 hours so you can…I dunno…what do people want to get to that is better than sitting on the couch watching a great game…go mow the lawn?

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