USFL to introduce best-of-3 overtime, three-point conversions for upcoming inaugural season

The NFL still hasn’t fixed its overtime rules, but another football league is trying out a unique way to settle games in extra time.

The new USFL released rules on Wednesday for its upcoming inaugural season, including a best-of-three shootout in overtime. Under the rules, each team’s offense will alternate plays from the opponent’s 2-yard line — similar to a two-point conversion. The team with more successful conversions after three attempts wins. If it remains tied, each subsequent attempt will become sudden death, and there will be no ties.

The USFL, a new spring football operation with the same name as the popular 1980s league, will kick off its season on April 16 when the Birmingham Stallions take on the New Jersey Generals.

The league is also adding three-point conversions after touchdowns. Rather than kick an extra point or go for two, USFL teams will have the option to chase after three points following a touchdown by scoring from the 10-yard line.

Another interesting rule change includes an alternative option for the onside kick. Teams will be able to attempt a fourth-and-12 from their own 33-yard line to regain possession rather than kick off to the opposing team.

USFL head of officiating Mike Pereira said in a news release that the USFL’s rule changes are geared at generating offense and big plays while also making games more competitive.

“Fans are the USFL’s top priority, so our rules are designed to give fans the traditional physical play they know and love while adding some modern fast-paced elements,” Pereira said.

“The overwhelming majority of rules that govern gameplay in the USFL are standard at the professional or collegiate level. But we are incorporating a few unconventional ideas that we’re convinced will add offense, alter some coaching decisions and strategy for the better, and make it easier to get major penalty calls correct.”

Other rule changes include: Legalizing two forward passes from behind the line of scrimmage and stopping the clock for first downs inside of two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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