The 2023 USFL football season kicks off this Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16 with four games starting with a Philadelphia Stars vs Memphis Showboats match up at 4:30 PM ET. The New Jersey Generals will take on the Birmingham Stallions at 7:30 PM ET. On Sunday afternoon, it’s the Michigan Panthers vs Houston Gamblers at noon on NBC and Peacock followed by a battle between the Pittsburgh Maulers and New Orleans Breakers at 6:30 PM.
While most of the league’s rules are in line with the traditional game of football that we’re used to watching at the collegiate and professional level, the USFL has incorporated a few unconventional rule changes to bring even more excitement to the game. See below for the 2023 USFL rules and how they differ from the NFL.
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2023 USFL Rules:
After scoring, teams will have the option of attempting a 1-point kick from the 15-yard line, a 2-point scrimmage play from the 2-yard line, or a 3-point scrimmage play from the 10-yard line.
- Once the team has declared their choice they cannot change their extra point option (timeouts or penalties won’t allow changes).
- If a touchdown is scored on a 1 or 2-point try by either team, 2 points are awarded.
- If Team A scores a touchdown on a 3-point try, then 3 points are awarded; if Team B scores a touchdown on a 3-point try, then 2 points are awarded.
Onside Kick vs Scrimmage Play:
Teams will have two options to keep the ball after scoring:
- An onside kick from the 25-yard line.
- Running a 4th-and-12 play from their own 33-yard line. If a team makes a first down, it keeps the ball; if it fails, the defense gets the ball.
All kickoffs must be made from the 25-yard line:
- No kicking team member may line up any further back than one yard. The receiving team must have a minimum of eight players in the set-up zone between their 35- and 45-yard lines
- After a kickoff travels 20 yards, the first touch must be by the receiving team. If untouched, the kick becomes dead, and the ball belongs to the receiving team at that spot.
- For punts, gunners may not line up outside the numbers and can’t be double-team blocked until the ball is kicked.
- Play clock: 35 seconds (25 for administrative stops)
- The game clock stops for first downs inside the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.
Each coach gets one replay challenge.
- The replay crew can overrule incorrect personal foul calls (roughing the passer, hits on defenseless players, facemasks, horse collars, etc.). They will also be responsible for determining whether the act of pass interference is obviously intentional when it occurs 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
Overtime will be a shootout:
- Each team alternates 1-play possessions from the 2-yard line (each score is worth 2 points).
- Each team gets up to 3 plays, the team that scores the most points wins.
- If Team A scores on the first 2 plays and Team B doesn’t score (4-0), the game is over.
- If the game remains tied after each team runs 3 plays, overtime continues under sudden death.\
- Teams are allowed to throw two forward passes from behind the line of scrimmage.
- Defensive pass interference: A defender intentionally tackling a receiver beyond 15 yards becomes a spot foul.
- Also, the penalty is a spot foul if it 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: If a pass doesn’t cross the line of scrimmage, there are no pass interference or ineligible player downfield penalties.
What are the new rules for the 2023 USFL season?
- In a change from last season when kickoffs were made from the 25-yard line, kickoffs will now be made from the 20-yard line.
- Last season, the game clock started after incomplete passes in only the 1st and 3rd quarter–this season the clock will start after incomplete passes in the 1st, 3rd, and up to 5-minue mark in the 2nd and 4th quarter in an effort to speed up game play.
- Teams will now be allowed to have an emergency third QB that will be listed as inactive. If he is activated and plays in any of the first three quarters, the first two QBs will not be allowed to re-enter the game. If the emergency QB enters in the 4th quarter, the original two quarterbacks will be allowed to re-enter.
- If the ball is fumbled from field to play into and out of the end zone, it will be returned to the spot of the fumble and the team that fumbled will retain possesion.
RELATED: 2023 USFL Season Schedule: Dates, times, locations, new teams, playoff format, and more
2023 USFL Season Schedule:
*All times are listed as ET
Saturday, April 15
Philadelphia at Memphis – 4:30 p.m. (FOX)
New Jersey at Birmingham – 7:30 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, April 16
Michigan at Houston – 12 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)
Pittsburgh at New Orleans – 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
Saturday, April 22
Houston at New Orleans – 12:30 p.m. (USA and Peacock)
Memphis at Birmingham – 7 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, April 23
New Jersey at Pittsburgh – 12 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)
Michigan at Philadelphia – 7 p.m. (FS1)
Saturday, April 29
New Orleans at Birmingham – 12:30 p.m. (USA and Peacock)
Memphis at Houston – 7 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, April 30
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia – 12 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)
New Jersey at Michigan – 4 p.m. (FOX)
Saturday, May 6
Houston at Philadelphia – 1 p.m. (FOX)
Memphis at Michigan – 7:30 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)
Sunday, May 7
New Orleans at New Jersey – 3 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)
Birmingham at Pittsburgh – 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
Saturday, May 13
Pittsburgh at Michigan – 12:30 p.m. (USA and Peacock)
Houston at Birmingham – 4 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, May 14
New Jersey at Philadelphia – 12 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)
Memphis at New Orleans – 3 p.m. (FOX)
Saturday, May 20
Pittsburgh at Memphis – 12:30 p.m. (USA and Peacock)
Birmingham at Michigan – 4 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, May 21
New Orleans at Philadelphia – 12 p.m. (FS1)
New Jersey at Houston – 4 p.m. (FOX)
Saturday, May 27
Birmingham at New Orleans – 4 p.m. (FOX)
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh – 9 p.m. (FS1)
Sunday, May 28
Houston at Memphis – 2 p.m. (USA and Peacock)
Michigan at New Jersey – 5:30 p.m. (FS1)
Saturday, June 3
Houston at Pittsburgh – 12 p.m. (USA and Peacock)
Philadelphia at Birmingham – 3 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)
Sunday, June 4
Memphis at New Jersey – 1 p.m. (FOX)
Michigan at New Orleans – 4 p.m. (FOX)
Saturday, June 10
Michigan at Pittsburgh – 12 p.m. (FOX)
New Orleans at Memphis – 3 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)
Sunday, June 11
Birmingham at Houston – 2 p.m. (NBC and Peacock)
Philadelphia at New Jersey – 7 p.m. (FOX)
Saturday, June 17
Pittsburgh at New Jersey – 1 p.m. (USA and Peacock)
Birmingham at Memphis – 4 p.m. (FOX)
Sunday, June 18
New Orleans at Houston – 4 p.m. (FS1)
Philadelphia at Michigan – 7 p.m. (FOX)
Check out these other stories from NBC Sports’ Road to the USFL Kickoff Series:
- Reggie Corbin talks faith, fortitude, and football
- Case Cookus talks recovery, relationships, and more
- Darius Victor talks leadership role, life changes, and Generals football
- Tre Tarpley talks mindset and Maulers’ redemption tour