Saturday, February 08, 2020

XFL 2.0

I'll admit it, I am intrigued:

Teams can go for one point from the 2-yard line, two points from the 5-yard line or three points from the 10-yard line. That means a team could score a nine-points in one possession. These three different scoring options will make a regulation tie a lot less likely. The options will create a fascinating wrinkle in coaching strategy. It’s likely that two-point conversions will be most common, but after a defensive touchdown, why not go for three?


Two other game play innovations involved the kicking game: Kickoffs have been altered to make them safer so players aren’t hitting each other at full-speed. The kicker will kick off from the 30-yard line, 5 yards farther back than in the NFL, as a way to limit touchbacks. Most players will line up across from each other between the other 30- and 35-yard line and cannot move until the returner catches the ball.

The XFL made some changes to disincentivize punting, in the hopes of encouraging more teams to go for it on fourth down. Balls that are punted into the end zone or out of bounds will be marked at the 35-yard line, as opposed to the 20 in the NFL. The XFL is calling that a “major touchback.” If a team does punt, it will be more difficult to cover. No player on the punt team can run downfield until the ball is kicked, which will give returners more space to work with.
It looks as if the XFL is making a serious attempt to improve the game of football rather than simply imitate the NFL. That doesn't mean it will be successful, of course, but it does suggest that it may be worth watching. I really like the extra point(s) option. That's an indication of good game design.

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Blogger bodenlose Schweinerei February 08, 2020 7:48 AM  

It is intriguing, but the history of start-up sports leagues is absolutely dismal, and competition for diminishing attention spans has only gotten worse.

On the other hand, many sports fans exhibit the common characteristics of addiction, so maybe playin' more football can work.

Blogger Section 8A February 08, 2020 7:49 AM  


Blogger Jack Morrow February 08, 2020 7:58 AM  

The World Football League (1974-1975) had a 7-point touchdown, followed by an "action point," rushing or passing for the extra point.

Blogger Doctor Mayhem February 08, 2020 8:20 AM  

I normally hate football, but this might be interesting. Especially if Vince is gonna force players to stand for the national anthem.

Blogger David Ray Milton February 08, 2020 8:27 AM  

As long as there are no pink shoes nor stripper poles during halftime shows I’m open to the idea.

Blogger Damelon Brinn February 08, 2020 8:31 AM  

The NFL has been trying to cut down on injuries on kick/punt returns by basically eliminating returns. This sounds like the XFL will have a higher percentage of kicks and punts returned, but they're trying to make the return safer. I don't know if that'll work, but I like it better than just giving up by taking the play out of the game.

Blogger YIH February 08, 2020 8:40 AM  

At the NFL Pro Bowl they were experimenting with a choice of the "kicking team" having the ball spotted at the 25 (roughly where the kick would be returned to) or spotted at the 40 with the "kicking team" at 4th and 15 to convert. Instead of an "onside kick". If the "ki cking team" fails to convert the "receiveing team" gets the ball at what amounts to field goal range.
It also appears that Vince McMahon is taking the XFL seriously, no cheerleades, no wrestlers, no silly gimmicks (like the camera in the cheerleades dressing room). That McMahon is serious about reducing concessions is certainly a good thing. I'd like to see the XFL adopt the Pro Bowl "kicking rules" as well.

Blogger JovianStorm February 08, 2020 8:55 AM  

So the XFL has to do is keep the SJWs away and it's gold by comparison.

But as soon as they get popular the bluehairs will REEEEEEE their way in and ruin that too.

Blogger Eric Waite February 08, 2020 9:06 AM  

The kickoff and punt coverage rules will also free teams to put their best playmakers in to return. How many star RBs, WRs, and CBs would be returning kicks and punts if they were less likely to be a sitting duck for the gunners?

Blogger Lazarus February 08, 2020 9:08 AM  

And no sideline commentary by females who never took a serious hit in their lives.

Blogger Dave February 08, 2020 9:09 AM  

That is intriguing. If we're talking game design though; I'm just spitballing here but what if they got rid of kickers entirely?

They've already removed extra point kicks, how could we ever eliminate field goals you ask? The 2019 season league averages for FGA was 30.7 and FGM was 25.1; teams are attempting and making less than 2 FGs per game. In fact the Titans, a playoff team, only made 8 field goals out of 18 attempts for the season. Of the 15 teams that attempted the most field goals, 11 didn't make the playoffs. How many people really want to watch a battle of kickers in 12-9 games anyway?

re punting and kickoffs the trend is already headed towards eliminating kickoffs, why not get rid of punts too? In 2019 teams averaged 27.4 punt returns for the season; less than 2 per game. Average total punt return yards was 12.9 per game. Only 7 punts were returned for touchdown in a total of 512 games. Instead of punts the ball will be located a particular distance down the field dependent on the line of scrimmage.

Boom, eliminate the kickers and long snappers.

Blogger tublecane February 08, 2020 9:32 AM  

Th kicking game as it is in the NFL lives in symbiosis with t.v. commercials, in that almost nothing of interest ever occurs during them, and you can shove breaks in at both ends in some situations.

I remember seeing something on a high school team that won like three straight state championships without punts and with none but onside kicks. The coach viewed them as turnovers. That kind of game I could get into.

Blogger Bellomy February 08, 2020 9:35 AM  

I really hope this takes off so the NFL dies.

Blogger CanticBear February 08, 2020 9:36 AM  

My buddies and I have been having some fun acting like we’ve been die hard fans for years, talking shit and making fun of each other. Went so far that one bought a hat for his team on the spot. Naturally, we all ended up buying hats to prove that our roots go deep haha. Even if it ends up sucking, the XFL has already provided a good time just because of that.

Blogger Silent Draco February 08, 2020 9:37 AM  

The return rules should make a safer and more interesting game. More play and less gladiator striking.

Blogger Cinco February 08, 2020 9:45 AM  

All of these ideas sell better. I would personally like to see a version where the clock does not stop, similar to soccer. This would mean little to no commercials, and two hour games.

Blogger Doktor Jeep February 08, 2020 9:58 AM  

Will they bring back victory jigs?
A friend is asking.

Blogger Balkan Yankee February 08, 2020 10:10 AM  

Reasonable ticket prices too.

Blogger The Depolrable Podunk Ken Ramsey February 08, 2020 10:29 AM  

I'm intrigued, too. It's exciting. By the way, if you haven't looked into Canadian Football, it is well worth a look imho. The CFL rules are 180 degrees opposite to what the XFL is trying to do. The kicking game is of heightened importance, in CFL games field position is king. It looks like American football on the surface, but it's an entirely different game with a different set of strategies.

Blogger John Cunningham February 08, 2020 10:30 AM  

These innovations seem worthy. I hope the XFL has enough $$$ to hand in there for several years.

Blogger Servant February 08, 2020 10:44 AM  

Anything to kill fair catch and punish touchbacks. I have no desire to see someone killed but giving the other team the ball thirty to forty yards down the field has a lot of pomp and ceremony.

Just football is an interesting concept. Also putting my vote in for not mugging the players and coaches at halftime to talk about their strategy for not losing

Blogger Azimus February 08, 2020 10:48 AM  

I'm not sure what the ownership is of the XFL this time around but I hope they don't feature the contrived male soap opera like pro wrestling this time through. It made the sport a side show and the whole thing felt like watch a live-action play. I couldn't get into it. I'm sure there's a lot of crossover in NFL and WWE audiences but I sincerely hope they are only selling football this time around. That said, I will happily give them another shot.

Blogger Mike Lasater February 08, 2020 10:52 AM  

I live in St. Louis, and as the only XFL city without a current NFL team, there’s a not-insignificant level of excitement here. I really hope the XFL works out.

Blogger Alexamenos February 08, 2020 10:54 AM  

'but after a defensive touchdown, why not go for three?'

because the considerations in the decision for going for one, two, or three are entirely independent of whether the TD was offensive or defensive.

Blogger Dos Voltz February 08, 2020 11:18 AM  

I hope there are sever penalties for shucking and jiving.

Blogger Johnny February 08, 2020 11:28 AM  

I like the idea of being rid of the kicking game. Getting rid of some of it would be a start. Maybe it is time for a second league. The XFL was too show biz.

Blogger Brett baker February 08, 2020 11:44 AM  

If this is successful, bring back arena football?

Blogger Out of Nod February 08, 2020 12:03 PM  

They can make a gimmick out of it!

Blogger Dave February 08, 2020 12:04 PM  

Alexamenos wrote:'but after a defensive touchdown, why not go for three?'

because the considerations in the decision for going for one, two, or three are entirely independent of whether the TD was offensive or defensive.

I believe what he's saying is points gained from a defensive turnover are like found money, why not go for broke and try for three. Not unlike offenses immediately swinging for the fences after the team recovered or forced a turnover. Of course, no decisions in the game are entirely independent of other factors.

Blogger joc February 08, 2020 12:10 PM  

Hopefully they can make it through an entire season unlike the AAF last year. I still have my tickets for the last San Diego Fleet game that never happened.

Disappointed there is no team in San Diego. I would have bought season tickets again. I'm a glutton for punishment.

Blogger P Glenrothes February 08, 2020 12:25 PM  

Taking the foot out of football?

Blogger Steve Canyon February 08, 2020 12:30 PM  

$20 for a decent ticket and first come first pick for seats, 5 for parking, beers for 3 bucks, sodas and dogs $1. Fans will pack the place.

Blogger Hammerli 280 February 08, 2020 12:50 PM  

Interesting. And I'm fond of special teams.

The big point will be having enough of a difference that the XFL is not the NFL Minor Leagues. They might want to consider restricting the helmets and pads.

Blogger Manuel February 08, 2020 12:58 PM  

McMahon doesn't like to be a loser. He has learned from XFL 1.0. He brought actual football people and is now emphasizing the Sport in "Sports Entertainment" rather than the Entertainment.
Also, if there was ever a time to strike at the Converged NFL, it would be now. I would turn up the patriotic aspects of the game to 20.

Blogger Akulkis February 08, 2020 1:05 PM  

I've been bored with the NFL since 40 years ago. This sounds much more compelling.

Blogger Dan in Georgia February 08, 2020 1:38 PM  

Section 8A wrote:HE HATE ME

XFL 1.0 will never be forgotten.

Blogger Dan in Georgia February 08, 2020 1:39 PM  

McMahon and TGE are good friends. If the XFL is to be reborn, this is the time to do it.

Blogger furor kek tonicus ( the worst problem with being an inveterate smartass; no one knows when to take you seriously ) February 08, 2020 1:52 PM  

16. Cinco February 08, 2020 9:45 AM
This would mean little to no commercials,

somebody doesn't understand how commercial television works.

24. Alexamenos February 08, 2020 10:54 AM
because the considerations in the decision

are going to be weighed by some REALLY dumb head coaches.

not everybody can be Belichick.

31. P Glenrothes February 08, 2020 12:25 PM
Taking the foot out of football?

American Football has it's origins in Rugby ... but it's been Throwball for an awfully long time now. a long time before i was born. forward passes were made legal in 1906.

Blogger Akulkis February 08, 2020 2:21 PM  

The Australian Football game is also a rugby-derived game, but went in the opposite direction. No line-of-scrimmage/scrum, but unlike soccer, very handsy. And penalties assessed after the game, to be applied in the game with the next opponent.

Blogger bara February 08, 2020 2:29 PM  

I have tickets for my local team's home opener game. We'll see how it goes.

Blogger furor kek tonicus ( the worst problem with being an inveterate smartass; no one knows when to take you seriously ) February 08, 2020 3:33 PM  

Aussie Rules rules, as it were.

Blogger SemiSpook37 February 08, 2020 3:53 PM  

So far, not terrible. And it looks like Audi Field is pretty full, though not to capacity. The mini camps and scrimmages from a couple of weeks ago appear to be paying off.

Blogger Retrenched February 08, 2020 4:28 PM  

Interviewing the QB immediately after he throws a pick six... well that's different.

Blogger Daniel February 08, 2020 4:50 PM  

This is cool. You can be down 18 points and only be trailing 2 possessions. Much harder to run the clock out with 2 minutes to go.

Blogger CanticBear February 08, 2020 6:24 PM  

I’m having a good time, hope this continues into the rest of the season.

Blogger Unknown February 08, 2020 6:25 PM  

I like the quality of play in the HOU/LA game. The LA WR Spruce will be in the NFL next year, for sure. Hope the league works out.

Blogger Shield up sword swinging pipes blasting February 08, 2020 6:28 PM  

I'd like to see it expand outside the USA....Maybe having a more international element would make it more intriguing.

Blogger Cinco February 08, 2020 6:37 PM  

@furor Kek conicus

Don’t understand how commercial television works... Hrmmmm, I would not use commercial television, I would livestream everything and insert commercials directly into the stream as needed during timeouts/injuries/halftime etc.

Blogger Talios Hammerfist February 08, 2020 6:52 PM  

The first game was fun, and this second game has been excellent so far. It's a much better showing than AAF had in its short lived season.

Blogger Dave February 08, 2020 6:53 PM  

Just turned on the game. Another argument to get rid of the kickers...Houston scored, then kicked it out of bounds on the kickoff. LA then received the ball on the opponents 45 yard line. I'm sure Houston's coach would've happily skipped the kick and had the ball given to LA at their 25 or 30 or even 35 yard line.

Blogger CanticBear February 08, 2020 7:19 PM  

Nah, keep America in America. Lesser countries can do there own thing

Blogger Brett baker February 08, 2020 7:22 PM  

XFL Hooligans! Just like futball!

Blogger Dave February 08, 2020 7:53 PM  

Optimum Scouting decision-making models based on NFL data.


Blogger Pathfinderlight February 08, 2020 7:59 PM  

I wonder what happens when it expands to Russia and Ukraine.

Blogger Alexamenos February 08, 2020 8:28 PM  

That's a fair point.

Blogger Daniel February 08, 2020 11:10 PM  

Dave, you are missing the point. The kicking game has to be more precise in the XFL, making it more critical and less likely to end in out of bounds plays. Failing to target the live area of the field is severely punished, so you want to have really good kickers.

Kicking and refine in the XFL is WAY better than the cluster that the NFL has become.

Blogger Dan in Georgia February 09, 2020 5:37 AM  


The XFL did not want to be a gimmicky football league, so they actively designed rules updates that made sense and wouldn’t turn the game into a circus. In what might be the most fun update in the XFL rulebook, the double-forward pass will be allowed, as long as the first pass is completed behind the line of scrimmage. Once the ball has passed the line of scrimmage, no forward passes are allowed.”

This schooldays make for some interesting offensive schemes.

Blogger Dieter February 09, 2020 8:36 AM  

I really enjoyed yesterday's game. I'll watch again today while watching my daughter's swim meet. With my earplugs in.

Blogger Damelon Brinn February 09, 2020 9:55 AM  

the double-forward pass will be allowed, as long as the first pass is completed behind the line of scrimmage.

So if the QB laterals for a halfback pass, the refs don't have to try to determine whether it went forward, which is often a close call. Good idea. The NFL has accumulated a lot of ticky-tack rulings that are hard to get right in real time and lead to time-wasting video reviews. Anything that eliminates those is worth trying.

Blogger Dave February 09, 2020 10:21 AM  

Daniel wrote:Dave, you are missing the point. The kicking game has to be more precise in the XFL, making it more critical and less likely to end in out of bounds plays. Failing to target the live area of the field is severely punished, so you want to have really good kickers.

Kicking and refine in the XFL is WAY better than the cluster that the NFL has become.

What moron claims "Kicking and refine[wut?] in the XFL is WAY better" after a total of two games are officially in the books?

In the 2019 NFL season, the top 32 kickers executed 2345 kickoffs. Of those 45 were onside kicks. A total of 19 kickoffs went out of bounds, or 0.83%. If you remove Pineiro (Chi) and Bailey (NE) each with 3 kicks out of bounds, the percentage drops to 0.59%. The NFL has "really good kickers".

A careless idiot kicker kicks the ball out of bounds in the 2nd ever XFL game. The other teams gets the ball at their opponent's 45 yard line. Due to the harsh penalty the tendency will be for XFL kickers to be more reserved in their kicks to keep the ball in the field of play. Doesn't make them more accurate, all they'll do is take a little off the kick to maintain their accuracy.

It's unfortunate the XFL wasn't brash enough to go all the way and get rid of all kick plays.

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