BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — In less than a month, the United States Football League (USFL) will officially be underway with its inaugural game live from Protective Stadium in Birmingham.

And with the new spring football league come new rules that are aimed to “keep fans engaged,” “adding offense” and “getting calls right,” according to a press release from the USFL.

Most of the rules will remain the same compared to the NFL but will have slight twists.

“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,” said Mike Pereira, USFL Head of Officiating. “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. Collectively, these changes will be good for the game of football and keep fans more engaged and entertained.”

The new rules that will be implemented this spring are as follows:

Extra Points

  • After a team scores a touchdown, they will have three different options for extra points.
  • The first two options are standard: kicking the ball through the uprights for 1-point and trying to convert a 2-point conversion. But the USFL has added a third way to give teams 9-points in a single scoring drive.
  • Teams will get 3-points added to the touchdown by getting into the endzone from the 10-yard line.
  • This would allow teams more of a chance to make a comeback in games this season.

Instant Replay

  • The league has created the USFL Replay Center that will be headquartered in Los Angeles that will make all replay decisions for each and every game.
  • Each coach will be allowed only one replay challenge per game to help improve the flow of the game.
  • The Replay Center will be able to overturn personal fouls called on the field such as roughing the passer and facemasks.


  • All kickoffs will take place from the 25-yard line, 10 yards further than the NFL, but unlike the NFL, if the ball is not first touched by the receiving team, the ball becomes dead and will belong to the receiving team.
  • The receiving team must have eight of its players in a “set-up zone” between their 35- and 45-yard lines.
  • This was designed to create more kickoffs, but make them safer as well.

Onside Kicks vs Scrimmage Plays

  • Another new rule designed to help teams make comebacks will be a secondary option for retaining possession after a scoring opportunity.
  • Onside kicks are allowed but teams could also attempt to convert a 4th-and-12 play from their own 33-yard line.
  • If the team succeeds, they get keep the ball and start from the end of the play. If they fail, the ball goes over to the defense where the ball was stopped.


  • Overtime rules for the USFLwill combine some elements from hockey as each team will have at least three guaranteed chances to score two-point conversions from the two-yard line.
  • The team with the most points after three attempts wins.
  • If the score remains tied after the three attempts, then the subsequent attempts will become sudden death format.
  • There will be no ties in the USFL.


  • Gunners on the kicking team are not allowed to lineup outside of the numbers on the field and cannot be double-teamed by the receiving team until the ball is in the air.
  • This will hopefully cut down on player injuries as well as unnecessary penalties.


  • Much like college football, the clock will stop after each first down gained by the offense inside of two minutes left in the second and fourth quarters.

Defensive Pass Interference

  • In an efforst to reduce penalty yardage, defensive pass interference rules will be modified slightly from the college football rulebook.
  • If a defender intentionall tackles a reciever beyond 15 yards, the penalty would be a spot foul and the ball would be moved to where the infraction occurred.
  • The penalty will also be a spot foul if the penalty occurs 15 yards or less from the line of scrimmage or a 15-yard penalty from the line of scrimmage if the spot of the foul is beyond 15 yards.

Offensive Pass Interference

  • Offensive pass interference and ineligible player downfield penalties can not be called as long as the pass does not cross the line of scrimmage.

Two Forward Passes

  • In another effort to open up offensive playbooks this season, a new rule would allow two separate forward passes during the same play as long as the ball does not cross the line of scrimmage.
  • The NFL’s rule prohibits two forward passes. A later may be throw at the start of the play that then leads to a forward pass across the line of scrimmage.

The first chance fans will get to see these rules in action comes April 16 at 6:30 p.m. as the Birmingham Stallions take on the New Jersey Generals. Tickets for the game are $10 and can be purchased by clicking here.