(FOX 17) — The relaunch of the XFL has football fans all over the world buzzing. The league is similar to the NFL, but there are some very interesting differences that many fans are loving thus far. It doesn't take long to notice many of the changes.
First, the kickoff is very different from that of the NFL. Instead of the traditional kickoff, the coverage team lines up on the return side of the 35-yard line, just five yards away from the kick return team on the 30. The players on either side are not allowed to release until the kick returner catches the ball. This is a result of the XFL's hope to increase safety on what is widely regarded as football's most dangerous play while still allowing for big returns.
After a touchdown in the XFL, you'll notice the extra point is a bit different. Instead of kicking, the league has implemented a one, two, and three-point conversion. For one point, the team will attempt a play from the two-yard line, for a two-pointer, the team will go from the 5, and for the three-point conversion from the 10-yard line. Of course, kickers are still needed for field goals and kickoffs in the league.
The next rule that changes is on the punt, where the punting team is not allowed to release past the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked. The XFL has allowed for big plays on the returns as well, forcing punters to kick the ball in-bounds and away from the endzone as well. Any punt that lands in the endzone or out of bounds results in a 'major touchback' which results in the return team's ball at the 35-yard line.
There are many other aspects to the XFL that make it so enjoyable for viewers, including shorening the play clock to just 25 seconds which results in more plays and action on the field. In fact, every skilled position player on the field has communication with coaches in their helmets, which is different from the NFL where only the quarterback has that luxury.
Perhaps the best part of the league for viewers is the closeness to the action, including mic'd up officials, coaches, and replay booth. You'll hear the thought process into every decision from before the play to after it as the league also features interviews with players and coaches during the game. After a big play, viewers will hear from the players or coaches involved with in-game interviews and will also hear the communication between officials and replay operators.
The XFL consists of eight teams from two divisions, the winner of the East and West divisions will square off in the XFL championship on April 26 after a ten week regular season.
You can catch a lot of the XFL action on FOX 17.