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XFL Commissioner Reveals Wild New Rules - Including Allowing Multiple Forward Passes Per Play

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The XFL, which debuts in February 2020, vowed to be different from the NFL, and we’re starting to see exactly what some of those differences will be.

League commissioner Oliver Luck discussed three major differences over the weekend at the XFL Summer Showcase at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

One big change from the NFL is that teams will be allowed to throw multiple forward passes per play as long as the passer is behind the line of scrimmage, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

In the NFL, only one forward pass is allowed per play. Teams sometimes throw backward laterals on double-pass trick plays, but, as Luck told the Times, it’s usually (although not always) obvious to everyone in the building, including the opposing defense.

“If I’m in the shotgun as a quarterback, I’m five yards back, I can’t throw a lateral to a receiver because he’d have to be seven yards back,” he said. “You might as well hold a sign, ‘We’re going to throw a trick play right now.’ So we said, all right, if a team’s in the shotgun, that shouldn’t prevent the double forward pass.”

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“So I can be in the shotgun, five yards behind the line of scrimmage, whip the ball out to the wide receiver, who is just a yard from the line of scrimmage, and he can throw it,” Luck told the Times.

And if the receiver doesn’t catch the ball behind the line of scrimmage, it’s an incomplete pass, not a fumble. Luck also pointed out that once the ball goes beyond the line of scrimmage, forward passes are not allowed.

Do you like the changes put forth by the XFL?

The rule, he said, will give offenses more options to try a trick play. They could even use “slash” type players — such as the New Orleans Saints’ Taysom Hill or former Pittsburgh Steeler Kordell Stewart — more often to throw a pass downfield.

Another difference in the XFL is the elimination of the extra point kick.

“We think that the extra point kick is becoming a relatively meaningless play,” Luck told the Times. “Even after the NFL moved it back, (the conversion rate) is still very very high. It’s why you go get a sandwich, right?”

In the XFL, teams will have multiple options after scoring a touchdown. Like the NFL, teams will be able to go for a 2-point conversion from the 2-yard line. But unlike the NFL, the conversion from the 2-yard line will only be worth one point.

But there will two other options. XFL teams can go for two points from the 5-yard line or try for a 3-point conversion from the 10-yard line.

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“The idea really is that we’re trying to take what historically had been a three-score game and make it a two-score game,” Luck said. “Say I’m down 17. I can score a touchdown and get a 3-point conversion and have nine points. I’m back in this baby!”

Finally, Luck talked about a new twist he calls “The Comeback Period.”

The XFL will have a rule where the clock stops after every play in the final two minutes of each half. So, at the end of the second and the end of the fourth, the clock will stop after not just every incomplete pass or play out of bounds, it will stop after every sack, running play or whatever.

It basically kills the notion of the victory formation.

“We didn’t want a team to be able to have three downs where they just kneel it and burn off 1:40,” Luck told the Times. “A kneel-down — as a quarterback I loved it, but it’s also a nothing play.” Luck, the father of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, played quarterback for the Houston Oilers from 1983 through 1986.

The so-called Comeback Period refers to the idea that it will be easier for teams to come from behind in the final two minutes of the game.

Luck told the Times that it will facilitate comebacks but also hold the attention of fans right until the end, particularly in close games, because teams will have to execute to close out games, not just kneel and burn the clock.

What do you think of these changes?

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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