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XFL rules: Bob Stoops lists two that could last

The XFL is gone and isn’t coming back. But the seeds left behind will grow in the NFL, in the form of rule changes. Pro football almost surely will embrace some of the experimental changes the XFL tried.

For the Wednesday Oklahoman, I wrote about Bob Stoops’ abbreviated season coaching the Dallas Renegades. You can read that column here.

Stoops said two rule changes he really liked were the kickoff and extra points.

First, the kickoffs. Kickers still kicked off from their own 30-yard line, but the rest of the kicking team was stationed at the receiving team’s 35, with the receiving team stationed at its 30. Only the kicker and the returner can move until the ball is caught, or three seconds after it hits the ground. Touchbacks went to the 35-yard line, and kicks out of bounds went to the 45.

The rule was designed to cut down on violent collisions.

“I don’t think there’s any question the kickoff/kick return was well received,” Stoops said. “When I heard what it was going to be, I was really turned off by it.” But Stoops said he changed his mind after seeing two kickoffs. “That’s good,” Stoops said. “I was wrong. This is really good. You still get good returns, without all the major collisions.”

Stoops said kickoffs lack pizazz in the NFL and college football. “Heck, when I had Austin Seibert, he kicked the ball 70 percent out of the end zone. You’ve got all this pageantry (to open the game), here we go, kicks it out of the end zone, you go to another commercial. As opposed to in our league, 90 percent of them were returned. Lot more exciting.”

Second, the extra points. Teams got six points for a touchdown, then could opt for one point (running a play from the 2-yard line), two points (5-yard line) or three points (10-yard line).

“The extra points were really a lot more exciting than just kicking an extra point from the 3-yard line,” Stoops said. “Go for one, go for two or go for three. It changes comebacks. There’s a lot more goes into. It’s a lot more exciting.”

The kickoff rule seemed to gather a lot more momentum than the extra point rule.

But another under-the-radar rule change could have even more legs. XFL commissioner Oliver Luck told me Wednesday that the 25-second play clock is the rule he really grew to like.

It makes for a more uptempo game. Think about it. While the no-huddle offenses have given the impression of a more fast-paced game, in reality they often lead to stretches of inactivity at the line of scrimmage. Offenses substitute, so the defenses substitute, then offenses wait for defenses to align so the offense can attack at a vulnerable spot. It ends up as slow-paced as the old huddle version of football.

Some of these rules figure to get a long look as football attempts to make its game safer and more exciting.

Related Photos
Bob Stoops signs autographs at Toby Keith's: I Love This Bar and Grill in Bricktown, Thursday, November 7, 2019. Photo by Doug Hoke

Bob Stoops signs autographs at Toby Keith's: I Love This Bar and Grill in Bricktown, Thursday, November 7, 2019. Photo by Doug Hoke

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b491d274b27aa43473df8a9ab8957b68.jpg" alt="Photo - Bob Stoops signs autographs at Toby Keith's: I Love This Bar and Grill in Bricktown, Thursday, November 7, 2019. Photo by Doug Hoke" title="Bob Stoops signs autographs at Toby Keith's: I Love This Bar and Grill in Bricktown, Thursday, November 7, 2019. Photo by Doug Hoke"><figcaption>Bob Stoops signs autographs at Toby Keith's: I Love This Bar and Grill in Bricktown, Thursday, November 7, 2019. Photo by Doug Hoke</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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