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Rocket League is getting an NFL mode with ball carrying and out-of-bounds rules

Rocket League NFL art.
(Image credit: Psyonix)

As part of a partnership with the NFL for Super Bowl LV, Rocket League is finally getting the other kind of football: the oblong American one that's for throwing, not kicking. (But also for kicking.)

The mode is called The Gridiron, and will appear on February 2 and stick around until February 8. It's not just regular car soccer with an American football in play, the way Snow Day replaces the soccer ball with a puck—it's actually an interpretation of the rules of American Football. It's far from a one-to-one translation, but it should be interesting. Here's how it works, in Psyonix's words:

  • Gridiron is 4 on 4.
  • The standard Rocket League ball has been replaced with an American football.
  • Touching the ball attaches it to the roof of your car. In Spike Rush, the ball would attach to wherever your car made contact, but in Gridiron it will always attach to your roof.
  • If any player touches the ball, that player becomes the ball carrier, setting up the opportunity for hand-offs to teammates or steals by the other team.
  • The carrier can single jump, but double jumping drops the ball. You can also pass the ball by dodging.
  • Each goal is 3 or 7 points: 7 points are awarded if the ball is attached to a player when entering the opponent's goal, and 3 points are awarded if the ball is passed in or if the ball is loose. All own-goals are worth 3 points whether the ball is attached or it's loose.
  • Demos require Supersonic speed just like in standard modes.
  • Stay in bounds! You'll fumble the ball if you cross the line marked on the Arena wall.

I love how unnecessary it all seems. Maybe my standards for sponsored special events are just dismal, but Psyonix could've added an American football to the game without changing anything else and I probably would've been happy whacking it around for a bit before deciding it was an incredibly stupid way to play. Instead, they went and made ball carrying and out-of-bounds rules. I don't really care if it's fun, I just want to see whether it's a total mess, or actually works in any way.

The potential for weird variant forms of Rocket League is something I think about now and then, and I'm sure other players think about it as well. I primarily play Rocket League's hockey mode, Snow Day, and my teammates and I have frequently discussed how fun it would be to overcomplicate things, at least temporarily. Suppose, for instance, that Snow Day had an offsides rule. Would that make the game better? Almost definitely not, but it would be funny.

Again, look for The Gridiron to appear on February 2. There'll also be some new challenges that unlock a "Gridiron Guru" player title, NFL wheels, and 20,000 XP, and the NFL Fan Pack will return to the item shop.

Tyler has spent over 1,000 hours playing Rocket League, and slightly fewer nitpicking the PC Gamer style guide. His primary news beat is game stores: Steam, Epic, and whatever launcher squeezes into our taskbars next.