The XFL is still more than a year away from its debut season, but some new rules the new league plans to implement will surely draw attention.
Most notable is a running clock to keep the game moving: Instead of stopping the clock on incomplete passes and runs out of bounds, the clock will keep running, except in the last two minutes of the half. That should make games move faster.
“Fans want to minimize idle time and speed up the game,” said Sam Schwartzstein, the XFL’s director of operations, in a video explaining the XFL’s rules. “We look at the play clock as one of the big things we want to change. Fans want more plays — less stall, more ball.”
To ensure the offense can line up quickly and start the next play, the XFL plans to have designated ball spotters who will spot the ball immediately after a play ends, taking that responsibility out of the referees’ hands.
Other changes the XFL is planning include a revamped kickoff that requires the kicking team to wait until the receiving team has caught the ball before running downfield, a punt rule modeled off the CFL’s requirement that returners get at least five yards of space to field the ball, and tiered extra points that do away with kicks entirely and allow the offense to score one point from the 2-yard line, two points from the 5-yard line or three points from the 15-yard line.
The XFL is working with a community college football team that has practiced under some of the XFL’s proposed rules, to see how it plays out with real players on the field. Based on the video the XFL has released, it looks promising.