The NFL Competition committee meets every Spring, and if they’re watching the XFL, they should strongly consider some of the XFL rules for the NFL.
The XFL began play this weekend, and it’s time for the NFL to consider rules changes for the fans. Mark your calendars! The NFL annual league meeting is March 29 – April 1, and that’s when rules changes would be considered. Here are some of the XFL rules the NFL should implement in 2020.
The NFL has said one of their main priorities is player safety. Well, the XFL kickoff rule would be perfect to show that. The ball is kicked off from the 30. The kicking team lines up at the 35, and the return team lines up at the 30. No one is permitted to move until the ball is caught. Also, the ball must reach the 20. (The two different touchback rules shouldn’t be implemented.)
This will do two things.
- It will prevent full-speed collisions.
- It allows for more returns.
Currently, the NFL has a 40-second play clock on most plays, and the clock stops at certain points. They also only allow coaches to communicate with one player on each side of the football. The XFL has a running clock, a 25-second play clock, and allows for communication with all offensive skill players.
The NFL should implement this rule. NFL averaged 129 plays per game combined between the two teams during the 2019 season. The first game in the XFL had 123 plays, and the second had 133 plays.
The goal for the XFL was to keep the game in a similar number of plays as the NFL, and they achieved that so far. If they keep it going by the time the NFL convenes in Orlando, the NFL should consider these timing rules.
The NFL also needs to allow all skill position players on offense to have communication with the offensive coordinator. It will make play calling faster and allow for fewer huddles.
Point After Touchdown
The choice of one, two, or three points is intriguing enough. When you add in the play is from scrimmage — making it less of a given — it makes it even more so. The NFL kickers made 93.9% of all PATs this season. The XFL’s conversion percentage will be much lower, making the play itself much more exciting. Having a three-point play also makes games more exciting, because most won’t be out of reach.
Teams are more likely to go for it on fourth down simply because punting is too much of a risk. Teams can’t release downfield until the ball is punted, and if the ball goes out of bounds or into the end zone for a touchback the ball goes out to the 35.
Both of these rules make it advantageous to go for it because a return is more likely than a fair catch. The NFL had an average of 2.3 fourth down attempts per game, and the XFL almost tripled that on their first day with 13 total fourth down tries in two games.
Simple Catch Rule
The NFL catch rule is convoluted. The XFL rule is very simple. To paraphrase the rule on the XFL website, get one body part down in bounds and make a move common to the game and it’s in. That’s as simple as it gets.