The second edition of the XFL began its season this past weekend. The eight-team league offers some unique rule changes designed to "deliver what football fans have told us they want -- a faster pace of play and more action," according to the league website.
The changes are divided into three areas: gameplay, timing and "common sense" rules.
Prairie State Pigskin contacted four former Western Illinois players (one of whom played last season in the Alliance of American Football) as well as former WIU head coach Charlie Fisher and Leatherneck radio broadcaster Danny Frey to ask which of the rules they liked best.
Here's what they had to say:
Justin Fitzpatrick, former WIU safety and baseball player who now serves as the video coordinator for the Leathernecks while working on his master's degree
"From what I’ve seen so far I’ve really enjoyed the kickoffs! I’m expecting a touchdown every single time I watch one so it’s pretty exciting to me."
Jacob Judd, Clinton, Iowa native who played center at WIU and with the Arizona Hotshots in the AAF last season
"Probably the kickoff rules. Reducing high impact plays is important and it also gives the chance at bigger kickoff returns, which are cool."
Brett Taylor, Macomb native and linebacker who was the 2017 Buck Buchanan Award runnerup as the best defensive player in FCS; spent time in Minnesota Vikings' training camp
"I have not seen to much of it to be honest, but I do love that they are giving players another chance to play the great game of football. I love the kickoff as it eliminates running down the field, which is much safer for the players. The extra point attempts are also very unique and allows teams to come back easier."
James Torgerson, Springfield native and former WIU offensive lineman now living and working in Chicago as an investment consultant
"My favorite rule by far is the possibility of a three-point conversion. The option really benefits aggressive coaches and can allow a team to get back in to the game quicker. (I'm) also a fan of the kickoff rule. I don’t want to see the kickoff go away, and the new rule allows for safer kickoffs. (We) may not see a ton of long runbacks, but the anticlimactic feeling of touchbacks makes this way more exciting."
Charlie Fisher, ex-WIU head coach (2016-17) now living in Pennsylvania. Fisher coached current XFL quarterback Matt McGloin as a Penn State assistant in 2012.
"Love the running clock. Keeps the game moving and less lag in a game. The game is better with pace (especially a new league) I believe viewers will like this. Love the no-kick extra point. Go for 1, 2, or 3. Puts a premium on the red zone (2-point calls). These plays are as exciting as it gets. Helps a comeback and forces offenses to stay aggressive while still protecting a tight lead."
Danny Frey, radio voice of WIU football and basketball
"I like that they sped up the pace of the play. It makes a lot of sense to have one official whose only job is to spot the football . . . (It makes it) easy for the broadcaster to see."