When Vince McMahon created The XFL he wanted it to really standout from The NFL and he wanted it to have it’s own name and make it’s own name. He also wanted it to separate itself from The NFL and not be compared to The NFL. He made significant changes to The XFL to really differentiate it and to really tell it apart from The NFL.
The main differences between The NFL and The XFL are as follows: 1. The opening coin toss rule was replaced with a “scramble” where one player from each team raced to take possession of the ball.
2. During overtime, teams took turns trying to score from the opponents’ 20 yard line. One difference is that there were no first downs and the number of plays that each team made mattered. If team A scored in two plays, then team B only had that many plays to score on their next attempt. (The trade-off there was that the field goals could only be attempted on 4th down, so you couldn’t kick on first and turn it into a battle of whose kicker missed first)
3. When it came to motion at the snap, there were slightly more liberal rules. This means that only one player could be in motion, but he could be moving forward as long as he was outside the tackles.
4. No points were given after the touchdown kick. Instead, teams ran a play from the 2 for a point. Later they experimented with letting the team elect to run the point after play from different spots for more points.
5. Punting rules were tweaked to create action. No fair catches (though the defenders had to observe a five yard “halo” until the ball was caught). Punts out of bounds were a penalty on the kicking team. Additionally, punts were immediately live balls. If the return team didn’t field it, the kicking team could pick it up and advance it (though there was a distance component so teams couldn’t do a punt equivalent of an onside kick)
6. For the first few weeks, they had a full bump-and-run coverage (i.e. defenders could hit the receiver anywhere on the field until the ball was in the air) but restricted it to the first five yards after a few weeks because it was killing offense.
Aside from these differences, there was also cosmetic stuff. For example, all fields had to be grass and there was no team branding on the field. Also, players could have nicknames on their jerseys instead of their names (the most remembered was Rod Smart going by the moniker “HE HATE ME”). Finally, there were no penalties for celebrations after Touch-Downs (this was to encourage WWE’s persona, the violence and the taunt by Vince McMahon the The NFL which was “No Fun League”). Whatever the differences the first XFL had with the NFL, we can be sure that Vince McMahon would want to have those same differences between the new XFL and the NFL. He would really want to tell them apart and to not even compare the two in the first place.
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