The XFL Puts a New Spin on American Football

Oliver Beck, Reporter

     The Xtreme Football League otherwise known as the XFL, a winter and spring professional football league launched by WWE CEO Vince McMahon, is an attempt to fill a perceived football void in the months following the Super Bowl. Back in 2001, McMahon started another league — also called the XFL — with NBC in an attempt to blend football with elements of his professional wrestling empire, believing the NFL had become too dull. Poor attendance and television ratings forced the league to shut down after one season.

XFL Logo. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


     There are a few new rules that have been implemented into the XFL that differ from the NFL. First off, they aim to keep all of the games under 3 hours, meaning they have a 25 second play clock vs the NFL play clock’s 40 seconds. 

     Up until the two minute warning in both halves, when a play ends out of bounds or on an incomplete pass, the game clock will be stopped until the ball is spotted. In the NFL, the clock stops after every out of bounds play until the referee places the ball and on incomplete passes until the next play begins.

     In the XFL, there are only two timeouts per team vs three in the NFL, and halftime is only ten minutes, two minutes less than the NFL.

     If a team completes a pass behind the line of scrimmage, it can throw a second forward pass as long as the ball has not crossed the line of scrimmage, which is not allowed in the NFL. 

     One of the biggest differences in the XFL vs the NFL is giving coaches the option of attempting a one-point conversion from the 2-yard line, a two-point conversion from the 5-yard line or a 3-point conversion from the 10-yard line after a touchdown. Kicks on conversion attempts are not allowed.

     There are also many changes being made in order to decrease the amount of high speed injuries that have been occurring as well as increasing the amount of kickoff returns. The kickoff will be from the 30-yard line, five yards behind the NFL spot. 

     The coverage team will line up on the return side 35-yard line and the return team on the 30-yard line. Each team must have exactly three players outside the hash marks on both sides of the ball and cannot move until the ball is caught by the returner. Punts going out of bounds inside the 35-yard line are considered a “major” touchback with the ball going to the 35-yard line, as are punts landing in the end zone or going out of the end zone.

     If the score is tied at the end of regulation, overtime will be similar to penalty-kick shootouts in soccer or penalty-shot shootouts in the NHL.

     Overtime shall consist of five rounds, staged in alternating single-play possessions. 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 five rounds is the winner.

     If teams are tied after five rounds, then rounds continue until one team is leading at the conclusion of a round. The overtime will end once a team has been mathematically eliminated.

     Each scoring play in overtime will be worth two points. The defense cannot score in overtime.

     Many fans of the NFL are extremely excited for the start of another league during the offseason of the NFL. There have been rumors that the two will be connected through a team swap system. At the end of the season the lowest ranked team in the NFL will be swapped with the XFL best team. 


The Los Angeles Wildcats will play their first home game Feb. 16 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson against the Dallas Renegades.