Arena Football

Facts and information about the Arena Football League

  • Original founder of the Arena Football League, Jim Foster, was prepared to play the first televised game in 1983. He abandoned his plans for the new league shortly after the formation of the United States Football League (USFL).
  • The Arena Football League was formed in 1987, the first two teams to play in an Arena game were the Rockford Metros and the Chicago Politicians. The game was called a “playtest” game and was actually played in 1986 as an exhibition of what type of game it would be.
  • There were only four teams in the Arena League during its first year; The Chicago Bruisers, Denver Dynamite, Pittsburgh Gladiators, and the Washington Commandos. Denver defeated Pittsburgh for the championship in Arena Bowl I.
  • The Arena Football League is the only sport to receive a patent for its style of play and equipment needed for it. Other indoor football leagues must play under significantly different rules to be allowed to play. The patent is set to expire in 2007.
  • The official Arena League football used in games has the same size and weight properties as the official NFL ball.
  • Until 2007, the Arena League allowed only two substitutions per quarter. This built up hype around the “ironman” factor of players not only playing two ways (on offense and defense), but also for the whole game as well.
  • Unlike the NFL, forward motion is allowed by the offense in Arena Football. It is allowable for one Wide Receiver to be moving forward at the time the ball is snapped.
  • There is no punting in Arena Football, on fourth down a team can go for a Touchdown, a field goal, or a first down.
  • There are large nets on either side of the goal posts, the defense or return teams can return any kicked ball (kickoff or field goal attempt) that bounces off these nets.
  • The Arena League’s first dynasty, the Detroit Drive, was quarterbacked by former Ohio State University star Art Schlichter. The Drive went to the Arena Bowl during every year of their existence (1988-1993).
  • As of 2007, the Tampa Bay Storm is the only team that has existed in some form since the league was founded.
  • The only All-Star type game ever played in the Arena League was in 1993. The game was played in Des Moines, Iowa as a charity game for flood relief.
  • The Arena Football League has a developmental league known as AF2.
  • Much-needed attention was brought to Arena Football in the year 2000 as the NFL’s Super Bowl MVP that year, Kurt Warner, had previously played Quarterback for the Arena League’s Iowa Barnstormers.
  • In 2003, as part of an agreement with the NBC television network, the Arena League moved the start of its season from May to February so that the first game of the year could start shortly after the NFL’s Super Bowl concluded.
  • Generally speaking, ESPN refused to air highlights of Arena Football League games until 2007 when they purchased a minority interest in the league.

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