New and Improved: The XFL Takes on Football


With the NFL season just wrapping up after the Chiefs trumped the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, football fans must wait until the next preseason for some more action. Or at least that’s how it used to be. Rumors of a new football league have been ruminating for quite some time, but they were made a reality when the XFL was officially announced in 2018. 

Focused on more action and fewer play stoppages, the XFL’s reason for launch is “for the love of football.” Most excitingly, the XFL has a boatload of rule changes that will make the game interesting to watch and even more fun to play. A few of these modifications include the removal of the extra-point kick, which will be replaced by 3 running options, and the double-forward pass. 

Since the XFL’s main goal is to lessen the number of breaks that take place, they implemented a few rules to support that desire. To discourage either team from intentionally taking a touchback, kick-offs are separated into 2 categories: major touchbacks (whereas the ball lands directly in the endzone) will be moved to the 35 yard-line and minor touchbacks (where the receiving team allows the ball to bounce into the endzone) will be placed at the 15 yard-line.

Similarly, the rules regarding punting have also been slightly changed. Gunners (players who attempt to break the defensive line and get to the punter before the kick) will no longer exist. Instead, all players must stay behind the line of scrimmage until the ball has been released. The rules of a kick-off touchback will apply to punts as well; all of this in an effort to encourage more 4th-down conversions.

However, the XFL wouldn’t be ready for kick-off without some competitive teams. Major cities across the country — including New York, Dallas, and St. Louis — welcome new teams for fans to cheer for. The United States has been split into two regions, east and west, where each division contains four teams. On the west side, the teams are known as the Seattle Dragons, the LA Wildcats, the Dallas Renegades, and the Houston Roughnecks. In the east, fans can find the Tampa Bay Vipers, the DC Defenders, the St. Louis Battlehawks, and — of course — a team we can call our own, the New York Guardians, who will be playing all their home games at Metlife Stadium.

The first games of the 10-week season took place on Saturday, February 8th to begin what was known as ‘Week 1’ of their short season. On Saturday, DC defeated Seattle 31-19 and Houston triumphed over LA with a dominant 37-17 victory. The action continued the following day when New York bested Tampa Bay with a score of 23-3 and St. Louis went home with a 15-9 win over Dallas. The weekend was packed with exciting games, and fans were finally able to see all of the new rules put into effect.

Other football leagues have come and gone in the US, but none have stuck around long enough to compare to the NFL. Many football fans are excited to see how the XFL will play out and whether it will be the big hit so many people are expecting. The only way to find out will be to tune in over the course of the season and decide whether or not the XFL could be the new home “for the love of football.”