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Volume 26 No. 205
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XFL's Rulebook Looks To Make Games Shorter, More Exciting

The XFL's official rulebook includes "more than two dozen changes to the conventional approach of pro football," according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. Most of the tweaks, such as a "running game clock and a three-tiered extra point, are focused on accelerating the pace of games and elevating interest in traditionally tedious plays." XFL Commissioner & CEO Oliver Luck said, "What we did is listen to fans. And what they told us is that they love this game, but they would like it at a little more of a faster pace and with a little more excitement." Seifert notes a two-year project to "innovate some aspects of the game led to a number of significant changes." They include having three options after "scoring a touchdown: a 1-point play from the 2-yard line, a 2-point play from the 3-yard line or a 3-point play from the 10-yard line." There is "no option to kick an extra point." Rules will also include a "shootout-style overtime: Each team will get five single-play possessions from the 5-yard line." If the game is still "tied at that point, the rotating possessions will continue until there is a winner." During games, there will be a "total of nine officials on the field, one of whom will be dedicated solely to spotting the ball to minimize downtime between plays." The XFL hopes these tweaks will "cap game times at 2 hours, 45 minutes." Additionally, there "will be a 10-minute halftime, two timeouts per team per half and no coin tosses" (ESPN.com, 1/7).

CREATING EXCITEMENT: THE ATHLETIC's Daniel Kaplan notes the XFL’s "goal with the changes is to make plays like the Point After Touchdown, punts and kickoffs that are often uneventful in the NFL and give them an edge, excitement." Luck said, "The NFL rulebook is our default rulebook. And the vast majority of rules that we’re going to play by are going to be the rules the NFL has had for a number of years. So we think we’re taking this game that’s already great ... and by having listened to the fans making it a little bit greater" (THEATHLETIC.com, 1/7). Luck said of the league's overtime rule, "We think it makes sense, because you've got the players on the field deciding overtime that were the players on the field through the course of regulation deciding the fact that overtime was necessary." He added, "We think people will like it, based on the feedback that we've gotten from focus groups -- and just sort of the general excitement around a hockey shootout, which is different but somewhat similar. Or a soccer shootout." Luck said that the league "hasn't yet determined whether the overtime action will occur at the same end of the field, or whether all units will be on the field at the same time" (USA TODAY, 1/7).