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Let’s get real here. The onside kick rarely works, no matter what type of football in which the attempt is made. College. Pros. Whatever. It used to be a bit easier in the NFL, but once new rules were implemented that took away the running start and overloading one side of the field, the conversion percentage dropped significantly. But in the XFL, things are different.

Since Vince McMahon first introduced the XFL back in 2001, every iteration of the league has featured different rules than the NFL. And that’s the whole point, right? Otherwise, it’s just an alternate league featuring inferior football.

One of those different rules in Dwayne Johnson‘s version of the XFL pertains to the onside kick. And the fun part is that a team doesn’t even have to attempt one to get the ball back after a score.

How the XFL 4th & 15 onside kick rule works

XFL football
A football showing the XFL logo in February 2023 | Sam Hodde/Getty Images

It should be made clear that XFL rules state that a team can attempt an onside kick at any point during a game. But in the fourth quarter, there’s a second option.

If a team scores in the final frame and wants the ball back, instead of an onside kick, it can attempt a 4th & 15 play from their own 25-yard line. And if they convert, they get to keep the ball and continue their drive. And if they don’t convert, they lose possession.

Easy enough, right?

Again, any XFL team doesn’t have to choose this option in the fourth quarter, as a regular onside kick is always on the table. But the 4th & 15 rule is so much more entertaining. And don’t be surprised to see the NFL adopt a similar rule in the near future.


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