XFL Rules

In 2020, the XFL football league returned after a long hiatus. Along with the new season, there’s a new set of XFL rules that govern the gameplay. In this guide, we’ll provide you with information on everything you need to know about the XFL football rules.

If you’re looking for a preview of everything included in our guide about the XFL rules, look no further. Below, you’ll find a list of the sections included on this page. If you’d like to skip ahead to any one of them now, simply click on the link itself.

XFL Rules Overview

XFL FootballTo kick things off, we’ve built this section to provide you with an overview of the XFL rules. Below, we’ve broken things out into different sections so you can quickly get up to speed with everything you’ll need to know about the rules of the XFL.

This portion of our guide isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive listing of the XFL rules. For this section, we’re going to highlight some of the rules which might be surprising if you’re used to standard NCAA or NFL rules.

In the wrap-up section below, you’ll find a link where you can explore the full lineup of XFL rules if you’re interested in checking them out.

Rules About Timing

One of the primary goals of the XFL was to provide fans with faster-paced and more action-packed games. With that in mind, several rules were developed relating to timing. Check out the summary below of some of the most significant timing rules for the XFL.

Running Clock

To help expedite the game, the play clock will only stop for timeouts until the two-minute warning period of the second and fourth quarters.

Comeback Period

The final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters are considered the “comeback period” by the XFL. During these select times, there are several types of plays and scenarios which can stop the clock. In turn, this can allow the team on offense more flexibility to score than during the typical period where the clock isn’t stopping.

Play Clock

The XFL play clock is 25 seconds per play. As soon as the ball is spotted after the previous play, the play clock begins running.

Rules About Kicking

When it comes to kicking and punts, there are several things about the XFL rules we’d like to highlight. The goal of these rules was to try to get more kicks returned and protect the players.


  • The ball will be kicked from the kicking team’s 30-yard line. However, the blockers of both sides will only be spaced five yards from one another.
  • No players other than the receiver or the kicker can move until the ball is caught or until three seconds after the ball hits the ground if the receiver doesn’t catch it.
  • If a kick goes out of bounds or is short of the 20-yard line, the receiving team will get the ball on their 45-yard line.
  • If the receiving team has a touchback, the play will begin on their 35-yard line.
  • Onside kicks have to be declared to a game official by the kicking team. In short, there can never be a surprise onside kick.


  • The team punting the ball isn’t able to cross the line of scrimmage until the ball has been kicked. In turn, this increases the likelihood of the ball being returned instead of a touchback.
  • Punts that went out of bounds or were resulting in a touchback will be placed on the 35-yard line of the receiving team. The only exception would be if the ball went out of bounds before reaching the 35-yard line.

Rules About Penalties

From a penalties perspective, the rules of the XFL are pretty standard from what you’re probably used to if you’ve watched the NFL. However, there are a couple of exceptions. We’ll discuss one of them in the overtime portion of this section. But the other one relates to an illegal man downfield.

With this rule, the XFL states that a player can’t be more than three yards past the line of scrimmage until the pass is thrown. In the previous iteration of the XFL, this rule wasn’t clearly defined, making it tough to enforce. Luckily, it’s much more spelled out now so that teams, players, and officials know the dos and don’ts surrounding it.

Rules About Scoring

XFL rules about scoring are also a bit unique in some ways. Below, we’ll showcase some of the core XFL rules for scoring to get you up to speed.


As is common within standard football leagues like the NFL and NCAA, a touchdown will result in six points for the scoring team.

Point After Touchdowns

Once a team has scored a touchdown in the XFL, they’ve got three options for the point after play. Interestingly, none of them include a kick.

  • Option 1: Attempt to score from the one-yard line. Successful teams will add one point to their score.
  • Option 2: Try to score from the five-yard line. Teams will be able to add two points to their score if they can run a successful play from this mark.
  • Option 3: Teams looking to gain the most potential points will want to try going for it from the 10-yard line. By doing this, there’s a chance to score an additional 3 points.

Rules About Catches

Another way the XFL is working to shake things up and make the game more exciting for fans relates to their rules about catches. In the XFL, a catch is deemed good as long as the player has control of the ball and at least one foot or another part of their body touches the field of play.

Rules About Passes

When it comes to XFL rules about passes, there’s one that really stands out. In the XFL, teams are allowed to do two forward passes in the same play. However, in order to be eligible for the second forward pass, the initial forward pass has to have been caught behind the line of scrimmage.

Rules About Challenges

With the XFL, coaches will not be able to initiate any challenges. Instead, all reviews will be conducted by a replay official. Below, we’ve included what the XFL has deemed as a list of reviewable plays.

  • (a) Plays involving possession.
  • (b) Plays involving touching of either the ball or the ground.
  • (c) Plays governed by the goal line.
  • (d) Plays governed by the boundary lines.
  • (e) Plays governed by the line of scrimmage.
  • (f) Plays governed by the line to gain.
  • (g) Number of players on the field at the snap.
  • (h) Game administration:
    1. Penalty enforcement
    2. Proper down
    3. Spot of a foul
    4. Status of the game clock
  • (i) Disqualification of a player. This list of reviewable plays is identical to those in the NFL prior to 2019.

Rules About Timeouts

The XFL rules relating to timeouts are pretty straight forward. For each half of the game, both teams will have two timeouts to utilize as needed. In addition to these, the halftime break will only be 10 minutes long.

Rules About Overtime

The XFL rules relating to overtime are pretty significant. Check out the overview below of some of the most notable XFL overtime rules.

Coin Toss

In the XFL, there’s no coin toss to see which team will go first in overtime. Instead, the visiting team will always have the first attempt.

Defensive Scoring

In the XFL overtime format, the defense is not able to score if there’s a turnover.

Overtime Format

The XFL overtime format closely resembles a soccer shootout. For this, each of the teams will have five chances to score from the five-yard line. For each successful score, a team will be rewarded with two points. At the end of all five attempts for each side, the team with the most points will be the winner of the game.

Outside of what was discussed above, there’s something else about the XFL overtime rules worth pointing out. When in overtime, some of the penalties can be more severe for the offending team. Check out the summary below to see how these XFL overtime rules will play out.

Offensive Penalties

  • Pre-Snap: Offense penalties happening before the ball is snapped will result in the ball being moved back to the original location and the play needing to be tried over again.
  • Post-Snap: Any offensive penalties happening after the snap in overtime will result in the play being considered dead. Any scores occurring during said play will not count for the offending team.

Defensive Penalties

  • Pre-Snap: If the defense commits a pre-snap penalty in overtime, the ball will be relocated to the one-yard line.
  • Post-Snap: If the defensive penalty occurs after the snap, the offense will have the chance to try from the one-yard line if they don’t end up scoring. Any other defensive penalties arising will result in an automatic score for the offense.

XFL vs. NFL Rules

Something many folks are interested in is precisely how the XFL rules differ from the rules of the NFL. In this section, we’ll spell things out at a high level so you can understand the similarities and differences between the XFL vs. NFL.

Differences Between XFL and NFL Rules

There are only a handful of things that are similar between the XFL and NFL rules, there’s much more that’s different. Check out the breakdown below to get insight into areas where the rules differ between the XFL vs. NFL.

  • Play Clock: In an NFL game, many different things can stop the play clock. For example, things stop whenever a team gets a fresh first down. However, with the XFL football league, the play clock runs much more often. The XFL clock will only stop when there’s a timeout or during the two-minute warning near the end of the second and fourth quarters.
  • Coach Challenges: As you read above, the XFL doesn’t allow coaches to challenge any of the plays. This differs from the NFL, where coaches have the ability to challenge a select number of plays each game.
  • Timeouts: In the XFL, teams only get two timeouts for each half of the game. This is one less than the NFL football league, which allows each side a total of three timeouts per half.
  • Forward Passes: As we demonstrated in the section above, the XFL does allow for more than one forward pass on each play as long as certain conditions are met. This differs from the NFL football league, which only allows for one forward pass each play.
  • Catches: In the NFL, a player must have both feet within the field of play for a play to be ruled a catch. In the XFL, however, a player can have just one foot or any other portion of their body touching the field.
  • Punting/Kicking: As we showcased above, there are XFL rules relating to punting and kicking that differ significantly from the NFL. One of the most significant differences is that punts ending in a touchback or going out of bounds will be put on the receiving team’s 35-yard line.
  • Point After Plays: Fans of the NFL are familiar with the idea of kicking for extra points after a touchdown. But, with the XFL, there are never kicks for a touchdown. Instead, the team can select from one of the three scoring attempt options discussed in the section above.
  • Overtime Format: Something else that differs between the rules of the XFL vs. NFL is the overtime format. With the NFL, there’s a 10-minute overtime block where both teams work to score as much as possible. However, with the XFL, both sides get five attempts to score from the five-yard line. Whichever team can score the most out of those five attempts will be the winner of the game.
  • Overtime Penalties: In the XFL, specific penalties can be stiffer than they are during the regular gameplay. But, in the NFL, each penalty has the same consequence for the offending team, no matter if it happens during overtime or standard game time.

Similarities Between NFL and XFL Rules

To continue with this section, we’ve added in some highlights below on how the rules of the XFL vs. NFL are similar to one another.

  • Number of Downs: In both the XFL and NFL, a team has four downs to advance the ball 10 yards or more to earn a new set of downs.
  • Size of the Field: When comparing the XFL vs. NFL, both of the football leagues play on the same field size from a length and width stance.
  • Player Count and Positions: Finally, one other way the rules of the NFL and XFL are similar is that each league has the same positions and number of players on the field at any given time.

If you’d like a more detailed look at how the rules between the XFL vs. NFL differ, be sure to visit the link below. Here, you’ll be able to gain even more insight into what’s similar and different rules-wise between these two football leagues.

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Are the New XFL Rules Good for Bettors?

Now that you’ve got a firm understanding of the XFL rules, we wanted to provide you with some color in terms of how it might impact betting on the league. Check out the talking points below to learn how the XFL rules may come into play when you’re betting on the XFL.

    XFL Logo
  • Kicking/Punting Rules: Many of the rules of the XFL are geared towards having more punts and kicks returned. With this being the case, bettors who can identify teams with strong special teams units might be able to get a leg up on their XFL bets.
  • Totals: If you’re thinking about betting on totals, be sure to take into account how much more often teams in the XFL football league will most likely be scoring. With the play clock and kicking changes, totals from XFL games will most likely be much higher than a typical NFL game.
  • Fewer Teams: Since the XFL only has eight teams, it can make it easier on sports bettors to learn about each one of them, since it’s less than the NFL’s 32 teams.
  • Announcer Talk: If you’ve watched an NFL game this season, something you probably noticed is the announcers openly discussing the over/under and spread during the broadcast. This is not something you’ll find from the NFL. However, as teams know this is allowed, they might be more apt to trying to cover the spread, etc. to try and become fan favorites.
  • Information: Before moving on to the next section, we wanted to mention one other thing that could impact you when betting on the XFL. Since the football league is so new, there’s not a boatload of available information out there about its players and teams. Due to this, you might have a harder time making well-informed decisions when betting on the XFL.

Trusted XFL Betting Sites

Before moving into our last couple of sections to help conclude this page, we wanted to also provide you with information about some of our most trusted XFL betting sites. If you’re thinking about betting on the XFL, these are the online sportsbooks you’ll want to use when doing it. Our team has analyzed all available options to ensure the list below represents the best of the best.

Betting Site
Bonus Bet Now
1BetOnline Logo BetOnline
50% up to $1,000 Go to Site
2 BetUS
125% up to $2,500 Go to Site
3 Everygame
100% up to $500 Go to Site
4 Bovada
50% up to $1,000 Go to Site
5 SportsBetting.ag
100% up to $1,000 Go to Site
6 MyBookie
100% up to $1,000 Go to Site

When coming up with the list above, our team didn’t just throw darts at a board of random names. Instead, we sought XFL betting sites, which would provide you with the best online betting experience. Some of the things our team searched for were sites offering excellent XFL odds, XFL betting options, bonuses, and quality customer service.

If you’d like more information about our recommended XFL betting sites above or are seeking more information about betting on the XFL, don’t miss the page linked below. Here, you’ll be able to learn everything you need to know about XFL online betting.

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Before we wrap up our guide on XFL rules, we didn’t want to leave you without including some handy XFL FAQs. If you’re still missing some answers relating to XFL rules, be sure to scan the list of frequently asked questions below.

We can’t be sure if the existing XFL football rules will stay the same forever or not. However, our best guess is that the league will continue to make tweaks to things to help protect players and keep the game as appealing as possible for its fans.

In 2020, the XFL football league came back for its second season. The first one was held in 2001. After many years, the league is back with some updates that we believe will help it last for much longer than just a single season this go around but with news of the XFL filing for bankruptcy, this is now in question.

One of the primary goals of the XFL was to make the gameplay much faster than the NFL. Thanks to this, fans will see much more action in a shorter period. In addition, the XFL football league has updated several rules intending to help better protect the players. Ultimately, the XFL wanted to ensure it wasn’t a copycat version of the NFL.

For the 2020 season, there are a total of eight XFL teams.

The entire 2020 XFL season will last for 12 weeks. Out of those 12, 10 of them are for the regular season, and two of them are for the postseason process.

Wrap Up on the XFL Rules

Thanks for visiting our detailed page about XFL rules. For those of you seeking a more in-depth review of things, consider visiting the XFL Rules website to see all of the fine print.

If you liked the information you found in this guide, we’ve got lots of other helpful resources to help you in your online sports betting adventures. Be sure to take a moment to explore our site using the main website menu to find other ways you can increase your online betting knowledge and skillset.