December 3, 2023

The restarted USFL completed its first season Sunday night. He finished off the overall league in style, as the Birmingham Stallions defeated the Philadelphia Stars in an entertaining championship match.

Similar to the 1980s version, the modern USFL has several policies that make it slightly different from the NFL. The NFL eventually adopted some of the original USFL policies, such as instant restart and two-point transfer. As they have done before, it would be wise for the NFL to consider adopting some of the existing USFL policies in order to improve the fan experience as well as the product on the field.

Here’s a look at three successful USFL policies the NFL should consider adopting for some time to come.

running clock

Beginning in week four, the NFL created a running hour 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) crossed the three-hour mark, the NFL hit its target, as games were completed in time. Besides making NFL games shorter, this rule change should encourage more pass-throughs in third-place positions.

kick on the alternate side

Besides the traditional onside kick, the USFL provides a second way for teams to retain possession after a score. The scoring team can attempt to convert fourth and 12th from the 33-yard line. If they succeed, they keep the ball. If they don’t, the other team gets the ball at the playing place.

This scenario was implemented during the championship game on Sunday. Down 33-23, the stars scored, then were chosen to try to keep the ball by capturing the necessary 12 yards with 1:43 left. While Philadelphia couldn’t convert, the play created a sense of drama and excitement that the NFL should consider adding to their game.

pass interference

Like college football, the NFL rates a 15-yard penalty for interfering with a pass. By doing so, the USFL had more games on the field than the zebras. One could assume that Jaguars fans would have preferred 15-yard DPI penalties during Jacksonville’s loss to the Patriots at the 2017 AFC Championship. By 14-3, the Jaguars were on the wrong side of a controversial penalty kick entering the pass that moved the ball 32 yards and led the Patriots to cut their deficit to four points at halftime.

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