I'm beginning to think my truck is weird.
I've changed my filter 3 times, and this was the sequence of events each time:
1. Insert cheap plastic fuel line disconnect tool into end of fuel line and push.
2. Catch small amount of gas that dribbles out with rag. Prop line up on frame to stop dripping.
3. Insert cheap plastic fuel line disconnect tool into the other end of fuel line and push.
4. Catch small amount of gas that dribbles out with rag. Prop line up on frame to stop dripping.
5. Pry filter from metal clip and put caps from new filter over the fuel filter inlets and place in plastic pan to catch gas.
5. Insert new fuel filter into metal clip. Re-connect fuel lines.
6. Put key in ignition, turn to "Run". Check for fuel leaks. Start truck, and check it for leaks again.
I've never relieved the pressure, pulled fuses, tripped inertia switches, etc. I do let the truck set for 30 minutes or so before I do the change and I've never experienced any pressurized gas discharge, only the typical dripping you would expect when doing this task.
As for filters, I've been buying the Motorcraft units at my dealer for about $12 each.
01 XLT Sport - My truck had a ridiculous amount of undercoating on it too. If you wish to remain halfway clean when doing this job, raise the side of the truck enough to let you slide in and out without having to touch the underbody. Also, spray a rag with WD-40 and use it to wipe the lines and fuel filter bracket before you have to touch them.
Just my $.02...