The XFL is hoping to snatch viewers away from the NFL by ushering in rules that are drastically different than the ones most football fans have come to know.
On Tuesday, the official XFL rule book was released, and it includes more than 24 changes to the conventional rules of gridiron football. For example, instead of having the option of kicking an extra point or running a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown, teams can run a play from the 2, 5, or 10-yard line. If successful, it will be worth 1, 2, or 3 points respectively. There will also be a shootout-style over time, similar to NHL shootouts or MLS penalty kicks.
Perhaps the XFL's most brazen rule change is allowing teams to throw double passes. If a team completes a forward pass behind the line of scrimmage then it can throw another forward pass without facing a penalty. According to the XFL's website, the league changed this rule to add more "excitement" to the game.
While these amendments may seem a bit extreme to football purists, XFL commissioner Oliver Luck insists that the rule changes are not a "gimmick." He told ESPN that these tweaks are meant to speed up the game. The XFL will also have shorter halftimes than the NFL, a 25-second play clock, and a running game clock like soccer. Per Luck, a faster pace is what fans have been craving.
"What we did is listen to fans," Luck said. "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. They thought there is too much idle time."
"We tried to listen to what they didn't want, also," he continued. "They didn't want gimmicks or things that were inauthentic. They also didn't want to be complicit when it comes to player safety. So what we wanted to do is take a great game and make it a little better."
Football fans meanwhile seem genuinely excited about the XFL's new rules:
We'll see how they translate from paper to the field, when the XFL kicks off on Feb. 8.