Five ways the XFL is different than the NFL

Tampa Bay’s fourth pro franchise, The Tampa Bay Vipers, is kicking off its season this weekend. 

The Vipers are just one of eight teams that will be competing for the XFL championship. The brand new league will have five new gameplay innovations that will make the game much faster and more entertaining for football fans.

Some of the noticeable rule changes will occur during kickoffs, punting, overtime, and on offense. 


During kickoffs, the XFL has come up with a way to eliminate touchbacks and encourage more kick returns by spotting the ball on the 30-yard line. The runners cannot move until the ball is caught by the returner. 

The NFL rule is that the players kick-off from the 35- yard line and all players can move once the ball is kicked, which creates a low opportunity for kick returns and creates a slower pace of gameplay. 


For punting, the XFL has come up with a way to reduce the amount of punts and increase the amount of punt returns. The rule change is that each team must line up on the line of scrimmage and neither the punting team nor receiving team can move until the punt returner catches the ball. If the ball is kicked out of bounds inside the 35-yard line or is punted into the end-zone, the ball will be placed on the 35-yard line and will be called a “Major Touchback.”

The NFL rule is that all players can move on either side of the field once the ball is snapped and if the ball lands out of bounds, that is where the ball will be spotted. 


One of the newest and most looked into rule change is overtime. The new overtime rules allow both offensive teams to have a chance and win the game for their team. The rule change is a brand new five-round shootout-style game that begins with each team on their opponent’s 5-yard line and the offensive team has one play to score. If one team scores, they win that round. If the other team stops them, they lose that round. 

If both teams are tied at the end of the five rounds, they will keep on going until there is a winner. 

During overtime in the NFL, each team is given 10 minutes to score. Once the coin toss determines who gets ball first, that team has a chance to score a touchdown and win the game. If the first scoring team does not score, the opposing team gets a chance to score and win the game. If neither team scores, the game ends in a tie. 


The double forward pass is a new offensive rule that will allow teams to complete a forward pass behind the line of scrimmage and then that player may throw the ball again if they have not crossed the line of scrimmage. The double forward pass is claimed to be one of more exciting plays seen in football and the XFL. 

The rule in the NFL is that there can only be one forward pass behind the line of scrimmage. 


After each touchdown, the offensive team has a chance to run a play that can be worth either 1, 2, or 3 points. The offensive team can either spot the ball on the 2-yard line which will result in one point if they score; 2 points if the offense scores from the 5-yard line, and a 3-point play if they score from the 10-yard line.  

The NFL Rule is that each team can only score a 1-point kick or a 2-point conversion.

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