October 3, 2013

New rules designed to excite Rampage fans

Devin Golden
devingolden@daltoncitizen.com

— Expect some new ways for the Georgia Rampage to score points when Dalton’s professional indoor football team takes the field next season.

The Rampage introduced new players during a press conference Wednesday at the trade center and team owner Kacee Smith talked about some of the new rules being added to the sport for the first season of the X-League, the Rampage’s new affiliation.

The team moved to Dalton prior to the 2013 season — its only prior season was played as a travel-only team — and hosted games in the trade center as a member of the Ultimate Indoor Football League.

This summer, the team left the UIFL and helped start the Xtreme Indoor Football League, which eventually became the X-League. The league will split between X-League Indoor and X-League Outdoor, with the Rampage competing in the indoor variation. The 2014 schedule begins in March and Smith, the league’s president, previously said the inaugural season will include a maximum of six teams. In a follow-up phone interview with The Daily Citizen on Thursday, Smith said that during Wednes-day’s press conference he also outlined to fans the new rules the league will use with hopes of creating “more excitement.”

“Anywhere we go and see potential sponsors and fans, people are asking, ‘What’s going on with this new rule stuff?’” said Smith, one of the league’s co-founders.

The league’s only other current member teams are the St. Louis Attack and the Marine Raiders. The Attack were previously called the Missouri Monsters and were also a UIFL franchise. Owner Andrew Haines is another league co-founder. The Marine Raiders were formerly the Lakeland (Fla.) Raiders, a UIFL franchise and rival of the Rampage, and Raiders co-owner Michael Mink is the X-League’s commissioner.

The “X-dash” is a replacement for the customary pregame coin toss to decide which team receives possession of the ball first. One player from each team will start the same distance apart from midfield, where the ball is, and will race and fight to gain possession. The one-on-one competition was used in the now-defunct XFL, a football league created by World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon.

Other additions are the “X-bonus” and “X-spot.” The X-bonus makes all scores in the final minute of each half worth double points. The X-spot is a 6-foot wide, 6-foot long box in the end zone, and if a receiver catches a touchdown pass in the spot at any point during the game, the scoring team earns two extra points.

Other scoring tweaks are: eight points for defensive touchdowns, four points for field goals via a drop kick, three points for post-touchdown conversions from the 25-yard line, two points for extra points via a drop kick and one point for all defensive stops.

“It’s doing something a little bit different,” Rampage coach Mark Bramblett said. “Initially, we weren’t going to have kicking, but some people got upset so we added it back in. All of these changes are just to make it a little more exciting.”