XFL returns: Rule changes, team names, player salaries and other key facts to know

Rebooted football league returns on Saturday.

The relaunched XFL will kick off its inaugural season Saturday, nearly two decades after its original incarnation folded.

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XFL executives have promised a fast-paced, high-scoring on-field game that, unlike the original, will provide a family-friendly experience for fans. Unlike its predecessor, the springtime league is not meant to be a direct competitor to the NFL, which earns a massive $16 billion in annual revenue.

The league’s opening weekend will feature four games, beginning with a Saturday afternoon matchup between the Seattle Dragons and the DC Defenders. The XFL will look to succeed in establishing another successful U.S. football league where many predecessors, including the Alliance of American Football in 2019, have failed.

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FOX Business breaks down what to know about the XFL reboot below.

Who founded the league?

WWE CEO Vince McMahon, who has pledged $500 million of his own money to fund the league.

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What happened to the original XFL?

Founded as a co-venture between McMahon’s WWE and NBC Sports, the original XFL sought to replace the NFL as America’s top football league. However, the on-field product failed to resonate with fans and the league folded in 2001 after one season.

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What are the teams?

The XFL has eight teams:  The DC Defenders, Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, New York Guardians, St. Louis BattleHawks, Seattle Dragons and Tampa Bay Vipers.

How long is the season?

The XFL will have a 10-week regular season and a two-week postseason. The season concludes with the XFL championship game on April 26.

Teams do not have bye weeks.

PLANT CITY, FL - DECEMBER 16: Vipers running back Tarean Folston (36) goes thru drills during the XFL's Vipers Minicamp on December 16, 2019 at Plant City Stadium in Plant City,FL. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Any former NFL players?

The XFL has several former NFL players on its rosters, including former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones, former Buffalo Bills quarterback Cardale Jones, former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Calloway and former Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael. Full XFL rosters can be viewed here.

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Any major rule changes?

While XFL games will bear a strong resemblance to traditional football, the league has taken steps to speed up the pace of play and encourage high-scoring games. Notable tweaks include the shorter play clock of just 25 seconds, the elimination of the extra point and a five-round overtime period designed to mimic a “shootout” as seen in the NHL.

Instead of kicking a field goal for a point after, teams can choose to attempt a one-point, two-point or three-point running or passing play from the 2-yard line, 5-yard line or 10-yard line after scoring a touchdown. The XFL also eliminated coaches’ challenges of questionable calls in favor of a dedicated instant-replay official.

How much will players earn?

The average XFL player will earn about $55,000 for the league’s inaugural season, according to multiple reports. Star players, such as quarterbacks, can earn up to $500,000, according to ESPN. The projected salary angered some players, at least one of whom opted to keep their day job rather than enter the XFL.

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Where can I watch?

XFL will air its games on Saturdays and Sundays on Disney-owned ABC and ESPN, Fox and Fox Sports 1. In an innovative twist, both ESPN/ABC and Fox will display sports betting information during XFL games, including point spreads and over/unders, Sports Business Journal reported. Sports betting is now legal in 20 states, six of which, including New Jersey, will allow wagers on the XFL.

“We’ll show lines — over-under and point spread — before the kickoff of every game,” Fox Sports executive producer Brad Zager told the publication. “The same way you see weather on a telecast and people talk about that, you’ll now see wagering.”

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