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Volume 26 No. 175
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XFL Wants Rules To Increase Fan Engagement, Promote Player Safety

The XFL is "close to finalizing a rule book that will introduce new wrinkles to a familiar game," with the hopes that a "fresh approach will not only be a key to its survival but ultimately provide a road map for the sport -- a game that’s safer for players and more engaging for fans," according to Rick Maese of the WASHINGTON POST. The XFL is "making innovation a cornerstone of its business plan." The league wants shorter games with "less downtime and more impactful plays." The kickoff "won’t resemble anything seen before," and OT will "look more like a hockey shootout." There "could be 9-point scoring opportunities, multiple forward passes on a single play and a shorter play clock." XFL Commissioner & CEO Oliver Luck said, “We don’t want to do gimmicks. Gimmicks in XFL 1 didn’t work very well. These are legitimate improvements to the game.” Luck assembled what he "called a 'Football Reimagined Committee,' which included nine members from several walks of life." The XFL "went to Mississippi in December to test with a pair of junior college football teams and then Jacksonville in February to try out some rule proposals with a low-level professional league." In April, the committee gathered in Texas to "conduct a series of test games with the Spring League." The XFL will "host a final round of testing in June ... before writing the rules in ink" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/10).

WATCH & LEARN: NBCSPORTS.com's Peter King writes it is "nice to see" the XFL sign broadcast deals with Fox and ESPN. King: "I just have no idea who’s going to watch the games. I keep hearing there is this voracious appetite for football after the NFL season. Maybe there is for people who work in football. And I hope they prove me wrong -- truly." King still does not think there is an "audience to watch players and teams fans don’t know, in mostly empty [stadiums], at a time of year when football has never sold" (NBCSPORTS.com, 5/13).