Three things NFL should adopt from USFL, including running clock after incomplete passes depending on quarter


Three things NFL should adopt from USFL, including running clock after incomplete passes depending on quarter

The rebooted USFL completed its first season Sunday night. The league ended the year on a high note, as the Birmingham Stallions defeated the Philadelphia Stars in an entertaining championship game.

Similar to the 1980s version, the modern-day USFL has several policies that makes it a little different than the NFL. The NFL eventually adopted some of the original USFL’s policies, such as instant replay and the two-point conversion. Like they did before, the NFL would be wise to consider adopting some of the USFL’s current policies in order to improve both the fan experience as well as the on-field product.

Here’s a look at three successful USFL policies that the NFL should consider adopting some time in the future.

Running clock
Starting in Week 4, the USFL instituted a running clock after incomplete passes during the first and third quarters in order to keep games under three hours. While some games (including Sunday’s championship game) went over the three-hour mark, the USFL achieved its goal, as games were completed in a more timely manner. Along with making NFL games shorter, this rule change would encourage more passing plays on third-down situations.

Onside kick alternative
Along with the traditional onside kick, the USFL offers a second way for teams to retain possession after a score. The scoring team can try to convert a fourth-and-12 from their own 33-yard-line. If they make it, they keep the ball. If they don’t, the other team gets the ball at the spot of the play.

This scenario played out during Sunday’s championship game. Down 33-23, the Stars scored, then elected to try to keep the ball by picking up the necessary 12 yards with 1:43 left. While Philadelphia was unable to convert, the play created a sense of drama and excitement that the NFL should consider adding to their game.

No good! 🛑

In the USFL you have another option on top of the onside kick: A 4th & 12 scrimmage play from the 33-yard line

Watch how it played out for the Stars ⬇️

— USFL (@USFL) July 4, 2022
Pass interference
Like college football, the USFL assesses a 15-yard penalty for pass interference. By doing this, the USFL had more games decided on the field as opposed to the zebras. One can assume that Jaguars fans would have preferred 15-yard penalties for DPI during Jacksonville’s loss to the Patriots in the 2017 AFC Championship Game. Ahead 14-3, the Jaguars were on the wrong side of a controversial pass interference penalty that moved the ball 32 yards and led to the Patriots cutting their deficit to four points at halftime.

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