The XFL debuted last weekend with new rules and new access. The increased access to players and coaches has received plenty of mention and rightfully so as it greatly improves the viewing experience and gives the fans a “behind the scenes” look.
The new rules have mostly received rave reviews but I wanted to know which new rules the players thought were the best. To find out, I went to the source and talked to some of the Dallas Renegades following their game Sunday night.
The one new rule that received the most reviews from the players was the kickoff. All of the reviews were positive.
“They’re trying to cut down on the violent collisions with the kickoff and I think that’s a really good deal,” defensive end Frank Alexander said. “It will save guys careers and cut down on the concussions.”
“I really like the new kickoff rules. It’s less injuries but you can still have opportunities for the big play,” safety Doyin Jibowu said.
Some of the players liked the new point-after touchdown rules. A team can choose to go for 1, 2 or 3 points by running a play from the 2, 5 or 10-yard line. If the defense causes a turnover and returns the ball to the opponent’s end zone, the amount of points awarded is equal to the number of points the offense was attempting to score during the PAT.
There were two new rules that were not used last weekend as no team attempted a double-forward pass and every game ended in regulation which avoided the new overtime rules.
Teams are allowed to complete a double-forward pass behind the line of scrimmage. For example, if the quarterback takes the snap and passes to the wide receiver behind the line of scrimmage, the receiver can legally throw the ball downfield regardless of whether the original pass was a forward or backward pass.
The new overtime rules are similar to penalty kicks in soccer and the shootout rules in the NHL.
The XFL overtime will consist of five “rounds” with team’s alternating one offensive play at the opponent’s five-yard line. Each team will have an offensive play per round and the winner is determined by the team with the most points after the fifth round. A score in overtime is worth two points.
The overtime will end earlier if a team is mathematically eliminated before the fifth round. If the teams are tied after the five rounds then rounds will continue until one team has a lead at the end of a round.
While it will take the fans some time to adjust to some of the new rules, the teams have been using the new rules during training camp which led to an easier transition during the game.
“The coaches have done a great job all camp of getting us acclimated to the new system and the new rules with the kickoff and the kickoff return,” Jibowu said. “I think we did a great job of acclimating and putting out a good product today.”
With all the new rules and new access that has improved the television viewer’s experience, Alexander brilliantly summed up thoughts of most of the players and the fans.
“It’s still football,” Alexander said. “I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the next nine weeks.”