The XFL’s 79 day sprint from kickoff to championship starts in 32 days. The Tampa Bay Vipers opening up on the road against the New York Guardians. The first home game for the fang gang will be week 3 on Saturday, February 22nd at Raymond James Stadium. Whew! Football in Florida in February and March! Yeah, sounds like great tailgating weather and lots of spring excitement.
Speaking of excitement, the XFL and their head of officiating, Dean Blandino announced some of the changes. Call them tweaks that are being made to the XFL brand of football and you may be quite interested to know. They are pretty exciting.
All Skill Position Players Will Have Speakers In Their Helmets
Partly because of the play clock in the XFL is going from the 40 second clock the NFL uses, to a 25 second clock that starts immediately after the ball is placed. The tempo will be increased. Because there is less time for receivers to return to huddles, running backs to get back to the line, coaches will now be able to relay the calls directly into the specialty players. That should make for some creative game planning.
Kickoffs Mean Something Again
Try this on for size. One of the biggest reasons for the NFL toying with the kickoffs these past couple of years is high speed collisions, concussions, and trying to limit injuries. The XFL just may have hit it out of the park.
Players from both teams will line up just five yards apart on kickoffs. They will not be able to actually move until the ball is caught by the receiver. Once the ball is caught, the blockers and tacklers will engage, not high speed collisions, but talented blocking, and the best part, the return man will have lanes to open up some serious return yards. Somewhere Devin Hester is licking his retired chops.
No More Dead Periods At The End Of Games
You know how a team with a lead will work just to get that 1st down so that they can run out the clock? Not in the XFL. This will now be known as the Comeback Period. inside of 2 minutes, the clock will stop after every play. and will continue to do so until the game has ended. No more will we see fans heading for the exits at the 2 minute warning. With the clock stopping each play. If the losing team can play some defense, there just might be a lot of football left, long after the previous point of the two minute warning meant game over.
Many, Many More
There is also the fact that receivers only need to get one foot in bounds for a reception. It is legal to have a double forward pass. There will be an option after touchdown to go for 1, 2, or 3 points, depending on how far from the goal line your willing to line up.
Once the AAF pulled up and went bankrupt, football fans really didn’t know what the XFL would be doing with regard to the technology that can be tweaked, changed, or just improved. One thing is for sure. This spring football sprint to the championship is going to be quite exciting.
Source; Tampa Bay Times, XFL.Com