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3-Point Conversions, Shootout OT Highlight USFL Rules Innovations




The USFL announced its playing rules for the 2022 season, which will include a three-point conversion, an offensive play option for onside kicks, and allowing multiple forward passes that do not cross the line of scrimmage.

The most significant change is the additional point after touchdown option. Teams will have the familiar choice of a one-point kick or a two-point try from the 2-yard line, but added to those will be a three-point try from the 10-yard line. The change will allow teams trailing by as many as nine points tie the game in one possession.

The onside kick rule similarity will help teams looking for a big comeback late. In addition to a regular onside kick attempt, teams can also choose a scrimmage play on a 4th and 12 from their own 33-yard line.

Additionally, college football timing rules will be in place after the two-minute warning of each half, allowing offenses to stop the clock with a first down in addition to a timeout.

Likewise, the change to allow multiple forward passes, as long as the ball does not cross the line of scrimmage, is a rule change in an attempt to create more excitement within the game.

In overtime, the USFL will adopt a portion of the college football rulebook, with the teams alternating two-point conversion tries in a shootout-style format. The teams will alternate three tries, with the attempts continuing if the score remains tied after the first three rounds.

The other changes appear to be designed to limit controversy, including centralized replay officiating, the ability to review personal fouls, and 15 yards for defensive pass interference.

Junior leagues have long been rules innovators. The AFL introduced names on the backs of player uniforms, scoreboard clocks and the two-point conversion before merging with the NFL in 1970. The NFL is not officially involved in the USFL’s rules process, but certainly will be closely monitoring the success or failure of the league’s rules changes.


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