The following is a breakdown of the XFL rules and how they somewhat differ from the NFL.
- The kicker kicks from the 30-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.
The kickoff rule was implemented in response to heightened risk of injury. By eliminating the motion of the teams in advance, it reduces the momentum and reduces the potential impact on the ball returner.
Point After Attempts:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- All Overtimes will have the visiting team on offense first and home team on defense first.
Every round will repeat this format.
- In Overtime the end zone where the overtime takes place will be determined at the 90 minute meeting.
Here is how the timing of the game clock differs:
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)
Comeback Period (Inside 2-minute Warning):
- 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.
Up Tempo Game Clock (Outside 2-minute Warning):
- Outside the last 2 minutes of each half, when a play ends out of bounds, or on an incompletion the game clock will be stopped until the ball is spotted.
- 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.
- Each team will have 2 one-minute timeouts per half
- 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.
The following must take place:
- Secures control of a live ball in flight before the ball touches the ground.
- Touches the ground in bounds with any part of his body (including one foot), and then
- 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.
Illegal Man Downfield:
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.