The USFL's first round of testing will involve additional regulations

The USFL's first round of testing will involve additional regulations ...

If the USFL had no rules differences from the NFL, would it be a professional spring football league?

Well, it can, because it does, and perhaps the most significant differences will come after touchdowns and in overtime.

A USFL team may throw an extra point with the line of scrimmage at the 15 or try for a 2-point conversion with the line of scrimmage at the 2. These are the same options NFL teams have.

The USFL has offered a third advantage. After a touchdown, the scoring team may spot the football at the 10th and attempt to reach the final zone from there for three points. That means that a team with a nine-point lead might be tied in a single possession.

Last month, NFL owners decided to change the overtime process once more, but the USFL has overtime guidelines that are similar to the NFL's old or new OT strategy.

If the game is tied at the end of the fourth quarter, teams will alternate taking the football from the 2-yard line for three rounds. The winner is the one who has the most points. If the teams remain tied after three rounds, the 2-point attempts will continue on a sudden-death basis.

Fans are the most important part of our culture, so our policies are designed to provide fans with the traditional physical play they know and love, as well as additional advanced fast-paced capabilities, said the USFL's head of officiating. We are putting together a few unconventional strategies that we believe will improve defense, improve coaching decisions and strategies for the better, and improve the chances of major penalty calls correct. Collectively, these changes will be beneficial for the game of football and keep them more engaged and entertained.

Other notable rule differences for the USFL include:

A game will have the option of using a traditional onside kick from its 25-yard line, the kickoff spot in the USFL. (In the NFL, kickoffs come from the kicking team's 35-yard line.) Or a team may have its offense snap the football in a fourth-and-12 situation at its 33-yard line. However, if the offense does not gain 12 yards, its opponent takes possession wherever the offense was stopped.

The requirement against having two forward passes on one play will not be met when the first of those passes is passed to a receiver following the line of scrimmage.

The defensive pass-interference penalty will follow the college standard, not the NFL rule, with an exception. Defeat-pass interference will be a spot foul if it occurs within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage. That's why long passes are often fatal. In the NFL, the receiver may be accessed as a spot foul.

It is not a live ball in the field of play as it would be in college and NFL once a kickoff has crossed at least 20 yards. After 20 yards, the first touch of the football must be made by the receiving team. It must be recovered by the receiving team and put into play wherever it was later rolled dead.

This weekend, the USFL will kick off its first campaign with four games, all at Birmingham's Protective Stadium.

The New Jersey Generals and the Birmingham Stallions will sit off at 6:30 p.m. CDT Saturday. FOX and NBC will televise the game.

On Sunday, the games include Houston Gamblers-Michigan Panthers at 11 a.m. on NBC and Peacock, the Philadelphia Stars-New Orleans Breakers at 3 p.m. on USA and Tampa Bay Bandits-Pittsburgh Maulers at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.

Mark Inabinett, a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group, has been published on Twitter. At the bottom of this page, click here.

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