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What rule changes is the XFL instituting that are different from the NFL?

There’s some rules that are returning from the 2020 edition of the XFL, and some slight changes made too for the league that kicks off this weekend.

XFL: Dallas Renegades at LA Wildcats Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The XFL has long been known for some interesting rules that differentiate it from the normal NFL football America has been in love with for decades.

The newest edition of the XFL kicks off this weekend with some slight alterations to the rules from what we’re used to when we watch football. Most of the rules from the 2020 XFL season remain, like the kickoff team and return team starting a play further apart to reduce hard collisions and touchbacks.

They’ll also keep the extra point rule, where no field goals are available, but each play is essentially like a 2-point conversion, except the further out the attempt, the more points it’s worth. Two-yard line = 1 point; 5-yard line = 2 points; 10-yard line = 3 points.

After a score in the fourth quarter, the team may opt to try a 4th-and-15 conversion from their own 25-yard line instead of kicking the ball back to the opposition. If they fail, the other team keeps the ball just outside the red zone. This is essentially in lieu of an onside kick since those have gotten so difficult to recover, though a traditional onside kick is still allowed.

If a game goes into overtime, it’s essentially like college football overtime rules. It consists of alternating attempts from the opponent’s 5-yard line. It’s a best-of-three format, or they continue going until a winner is decided.

The two-forward pass rule is also back. If a forward pass is completed behind the line of scrimmage, like a screen pass, a second forward pass may be thrown on that play.

Some slight changes from 2020’s XFL are increasing the play clock from 25 to 35 seconds, giving coaches three timeouts per half instead of just two and coaches get one challenge per game, not two like in the NFL. The final decision on a challenge is determined by members of the officiating staff who are at a central location, not the on-field refs.