Mar 24, 2022 - Sports

USFL reimagines football with new rules

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The revitalized USFL this week announced new rules ahead of its April 16 debut.

Driving the news: Many of the new rules differ from the NFL. Here are some examples:

  • Three-point conversion: In addition to the standard PAT and two-point conversion, teams can opt for a three-point try from the 10-yard line after scoring a TD.
  • Overtime: Teams play a best-of-three shootout from the two-yard line, alternating possessions with each score worth two points. If it's still tied, ensuing possessions are sudden death.
  • Onside kick alternative: Teams can still attempt onside kicks to retain possession, but another option is to take the ball at their own 33-yard line and try to convert a 4th-and-12.
  • Clock stoppages: The clock will stop after first downs in the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters to "add offense and excitement before halftime and at the end of the game."

The intrigue: Some of the original USFL's rules were adopted by the NFL, including instant replay and coach's challenges. Perhaps America's most popular sports league will be inspired once again.

Looking ahead: Eight USFL teams will play a 10-week regular season in Birmingham, Alabama, with the top two teams from each division advancing to the semifinals.

  • South: Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, Tampa Bay Bandits
  • North: Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers
Go deeper