USFL enacts new rules, adds third QB to rosters

Published 1:49 pm Thursday, April 13, 2023

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With the United States Football League (USFL) kicking off the 2023 season this weekend, the league announced a number of new rules that will be enacted.

One of the new key rules includes moving kickoffs back from the 25-yard line to the 20-yard line in an effort to increase returns. According to a release from the USFL, last season the USFL saw an 81-percent return rate on kickoffs, higher than the NFL, and hoped this new change would push that rate to over 90 percent in 2023.

Additionally, the USFL is now allowing teams to carry an additional third, emergency quarterback on its rosters. Those players will be listed as inactive going into a game but can be activated at any point during the game. If the emergency quarterback is activated in the first three quarters then the first two on the depth chart cannot re-enter the game. If the emergency quarterback is activated in the fourth quarter then the other two are eligible to return to the game.

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Another rule change involves fumbles out of the end-zone. If a player fumbles into and through the end-zone this season, the ball will return to the spot of the fumble and the fumbling team retains possession rather than acting as a turnover.

The USFL’s unique rule changes that were instituted last season will continue on this season, as well. Those unique rules include the addition of 3-point PATs, double forward passes and the ability for a team to convert a fourth-and-12 play as an alternative to an onside kick.

The USFL’s overtime rule will retain the overtime shootout in a best-of-three scenario with each team getting the ball at the opposing team’s 2-yard line three times. The team with the most points after both teams have had three possessions wins. If the game is still a tie, the double overtime period moves into sudden death with the first team to score winning.

The 2023 season kicks off this Saturday, April 15, with the Philadelphia Stars taking on the Memphis Showboats at 3:30 P.M. on FOX. The reigning USFL Champion Birmingham Stallions host the New Jersey Generals in the primetime matchup at 6:30 p.m. on FOX. Week two will be capped off on April 16 with the Michigan Panthers facing the Houston Gamblers at 11 a.m. on NBC and the Pittsburgh Maulers playing the New Orleans Breakers at 5:30 p.m. on