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Encyclopedia > Arena football

Arena football is a sport invented by Jim Foster, a former executive of the United States Football League and the National Football League. While attending an indoor soccer game in 1981 at Madison Square Garden, he developed the basic rules of the sport. Over the next five years, he continued to modify the rules, and play some test games, until he was ready to launch the Arena Football League in 1987. The league spawned a minor league called af2 in 2000. Other people have started their own indoor football leagues. These leagues do not technically play arena football, however, because of the patent on the rules (specifically for the rebound nets [1]) that Foster obtained in 1990 (which is actually held by Gridiron Enterprises). An invented sport refers to a modern-day sport which is conceived and developed by a single person, team, or committee. ... Jim Foster was the founder of the Arena Football League in 1987. ... The United States Football League was a professional American football league that played three seasons between 1983 and 1985. ... The National Football League (NFL) is the largest professional American football league, consisting of thirty-two teams from American cities and regions. ... An indoor soccer game in Mexico. ... See also: 1980 in sports, other events of 1981, 1982 in sports and the list of years in sports. // Auto Racing Stock car racing: NASCAR Championship - Darrell Waltrip Richard Petty won the Daytona 500 CART Racing - Rick Mears won the season championship May 25 - Indianapolis 500 - Bobby Unser Formula One... Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG, known colloquially simply as The Garden, has been the name of four arenas in New York City, United States. ... The Arena Football League (AFL) sometimes referred to by fans as the Arena League was founded in 1987 as an American football indoor league. ... See also: 1986 in sports, other events of 1987, 1988 in sports and the list of years in sports. // Auto Racing Stock car racing: Bill Elliott won the Daytona 500 NASCAR Championship - Dale Earnhardt CART Racing - Bobby Rahal won the season championship Indianapolis 500 - Al Unser, Sr. ... Minor leagues in the sense intended in this article are professional sports leagues which are not regarded as the premier leagues in those sports. ... af2 (short for arenafootball2) is the name of the Arena Football Leagues minor league, which started play in 2000. ... See also: 1999 in sports, other events of 2000, 2001 in sports and the list of years in sports. // Auto Racing Stock car racing: Dale Jarrett won the Daytona 500 NASCAR Championship - Bobby Labonte Indy Racing League - Buddy Lazier won the season championship Indianapolis 500- Juan Pablo Montoya CART Racing... Indoor football is a variation of American football with rules modified to make it suitable for play within basketball gymnasiums and, particularly, ice hockey arenas. ... A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to a person for a fixed period of time in exchange for the regulated, public disclosure of certain details of a device, method, process or composition of matter (substance) (known as an invention) which is new, inventive, and... See also: 1989 in sports, other events of 1990, 1991 in sports and the list of years in sports. // Auto Racing Stock car racing: Derrike Cope won the Daytona 500 NASCAR Championship - Dale Earnhardt CART Racing - Al Unser, Jr. ... Gridiron Enterprises is a sports consulting company based in Chicago, IL. Although they offer services to the public, their primary focus and notability is in being the patent holder of the system of play for Arena Football, as well as being an equity member of the league. ...


Rules of the game

Arena football is very similar to American football, so only the important differences between its rules and those of the National Football League are articulated here. In addition to differences relating to the reduced field size, other rule changes were intended to make the arena game faster-paced and higher-scoring. United States simply as football, is a competitive team sport that is both fast-paced and strategic. ... The National Football League (NFL) is the largest professional American football league, consisting of thirty-two teams from American cities and regions. ...

The field

Arena football is played exclusively indoors, in arenas usually designed for either basketball or ice hockey teams. The field is the same width (85 feet) as a standard NHL hockey rink. The field is 50 yards long with 8-yard end zones. Depending on the stadium in which a game is being played, the end zones may be rectangular (like a basketball court) or curved (like a hockey rink). There is a heavily padded wall on each sideline, with the padding placed on top of the hockey dasher boards. The field goal uprights are 9 feet wide, and the crossbar is 15 feet above the playing surface. Taut rebound nets on either side of the posts bounce any missed field goals back into the field of play. The ball is "live" when rebounding off these nets or their support apparatuses. Sara Giauro shoots a three-point shot, FIBA Europe Cup for Women Finals 2005. ... Ice hockey, known simply as hockey in areas where it is more common than field hockey, is a team sport played on ice. ... NHL can also be an abbreviation for National Historic Landmark or Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. ... This article is about the unit of measure known as the yard. ... The end zone is a term in both Canadian football and American football. ...

A player is not counted as out of bounds on the sidelines unless they are pushed into or fall over the boundary wall.

The players

Each team fields eight players from a 20-man active roster. Players must play both offense and defense except for the quarterback, kicker, an offensive specialist and two defense specialists (Wide Receiver/Running Back Combination and Defensive Back). It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into American football positions. ... The defensive team or defense in American football or Canadian football, is the team that begins a play from scrimmage not in possession of the ball. ... NFL quarterback Peyton Manning. ... Placekicker is the title of the player in American and Canadian football who is responsible for the kicking duties of field goals, extra points, and, in many cases, kickoffs. ...

Substitution Rules

Rules prior to 2007 Season

Other than specialists and kickers, a player may enter the game once per quarter. For players who start the quarter, they may be substituted for and then re-enter, one time. For a substitute, once he enters and then leaves, he may not return.

If a player enters and leaves, from the moment he leaves the player is considered "dead" and cannot return to play until the designated time is served.

  • For two-way players "dead" time is one quarter
  • For specialists "dead" time is one half

Exception: a "dead" player may participate on kickoffs, or as long snapper or holder. In 2006, the AFL changed its substitution rules such that free substitutions are now allowed on all kickoffs.

New rules for 2007 Season

The most significant change is the introduction of free substitution. Previously, AFL coaches were limited to one substitution per position per quarter. Beginning with the 2007 season, coaches will be permitted to substitute players at will.

The league and some fans stance is that free substitution will improve the overall quality of football in the league by giving coaches with the freedom to put their best players on the field for every play of the game, and that teams will be able to select from a wider player talent pool when building their rosters. Many fans and players though believe the rule changes are the beginning of the removal of the "Ironman" (2-way offense & defense) style of play of Arena Football that the league has actively promoted for 20 seasons, and that removing the Ironman style of play takes away a key component of what makes Arena Football a distinctive sport over other versions of football (NFL, CFL, other indoor leagues, etc).


Four offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage at the snap. One offensive player may be moving forward at the time of the snap. Three defensive players must be in a three- or four-point stance at the start of the snap. Two defenders serve as linebackers called the mac and the jack. The mac may blitz from the side of the line opposite the offensive tight end. The Jack cannot blitz and cannot drop back into coverage until the ball is thrown or the quarterback pump-fakes or is no longer in the pocket. The Jack must stay within the box designated by the outside shoulders of the offensive line, the line of scrimage, and 5 yards back from the line of scrimage. In American and Canadian football the line of scrimmage is the imaginary transverse line crossing the football field across its narrower dimension, which passes through the last position of the football, after the end of the most recent play and following the assessment of any penalty yards. ... A snap (colloquially called a hike, snapback, or pass from center) starts each Canadian football and American football play from scrimmage. ... A linebacker is a position in American and Canadian football. ... In American football, a blitz is a defensive maneuver in which one or more linebackers or defensive backs, who normally remain behind the line of scrimmage during a play, are instead sent across the line to the opponents side in order to try to tackle the quarterback. ... The tight end (TE) is a position in American football on the offensive team. ...

Ball movement

The ball is kicked off from the goal line. The team with the ball is given four downs to gain ten yards or score. Punting is illegal because of the size of the playing field. A receiver jumping to catch a pass needs to get only one foot down in bounds for the catch to be deemed a completed catch. Passes that bounce off the rebound nets remain live. Balls that bounce off the padded walls that surround the field are live; the end zone walls were not live until the 2006 season. The defending team may return field goal attempts that bounce off the rebound nets. In American and Canadian football, a down refers to a period in which a play transpires. ... Todd Sauerbrun punts the ball for the Carolina Panthers. ... The word receiver has a number of different meanings: In communications and information processing, a receiver is the recipient (observer) of a message (information), which is sent from a source (object). ... // [edit] Scheduled events [edit] September September 6-September 17: 2006 Mens World Hockey Cup September 12–September 23: 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women in Brazil September 17: NASCARs Chase for the Cup begins. ... A field goal (formerly goal from the field) is a general term used in some sports wherein a goal may be scored either during general play (from the field) or via some sort of free shot. ...


The scoring is the same as in the NFL with the addition of a drop kick field goal worth four points during normal play or two points as a post-touchdown conversion. Blocked extra points and turnovers on two-point conversion attempts may be returned by the defensive team for two points. A drop kick is someones dropping a ball and then kicking it when it bounces off the ground. ...


Current timing rules

The clock stops for out-of-bounds plays, incomplete passes, or sacks only in the last minute of each half (there is only a one-minute warning, as opposed to the two-minute warning in the NFL) or because of penalties, injuries or timeouts. The clock also stops for any change in possession, until the ball is marked ready for play; for example, aside from in a half's final minute, time continues to run down after a touchdown, but stops after an extra point or two-point conversion attempt. If a quarter ends as a touchdown is scored, an untimed conversion attempt takes place. Halftime lasts 15 minutes (12 minutes on games shown on NBC). The play clock is 35 seconds, starting at the end of the previous play. In American football and Canadian football, a quarterback sack occurs when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage before he can throw a forward pass. ... A touchdown is the primary method of scoring in American and Canadian football, in which the ball carrier causes the football to break the plane of the end zone, or an eligible receiver catches a forward pass in the end zone, thus earning 6 points for his team (in both... In American football and Canadian football, a team may try to score a two-point conversion (score two points) instead of an extra point (one point) immediately after they score a touchdown. ... NBC, (Formerly an acronym for the National Broadcasting Company until 2004), is an American television and radio network based in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ...

The clock also stops in the last minute of the game if the offensive team has the lead and fails to advance the ball past the line of scrimmage. This prevents the offensive team from merely kneeling down or running other plays that are designed solely to exhaust the remaining time rather than to advance the ball downfield, as often occurs in the outdoor game.

In overtime, each team gets one possession to score. If after each team has had one possession, one team is ahead, that team wins. If the teams are tied after each has had a possession, the next team to score ("sudden death") wins. Each overtime period is 15 minutes, and continues from the ending of the previous overtime period. Sudden death is a way of providing a winner for a sports contest which would otherwise end in a tie. ...

Previous timing rule changes

Before the 2006 season, there was one 15-minute overtime period, and if it expired with the teams still tied, the game was recorded as a tie. There were two ties in AFL history prior to the 2006 rule change:

Before 2006, the play clock was 25 seconds, and it began on signal from the referee. The Chicago Bruisers were a charter member of the Arena Football League, playing in the four-team demonstration season of 1987. ... Year founded 1988 Year folded 1988 Prior names none ArenaBowl championships none // History The Los Angeles Cobras played in the 1988 Arena Football League season only. ... This page is for the current Nashville Kats, which began play in the Arena Football League in 2005. ... Conference National Division Eastern Year founded 2002 Home arena American Airlines Center City, State Dallas, Texas Wild card titles 1: 2002 Division titles 1: 2003 Conference titles none ArenaBowl championships none The Dallas Desperados are an Arena Football League team that began play in 2002. ...

Popular culture

Because of its young age as a sport, few popular culture references to arena football exist. It is, however, established as a high school sport in the motion picture version of Starship Troopers, and most of the lead characters play the sport, with a game taking place as an early scene in the film. In addition, Van Montgomery, a character on the TV sitcom Reba (2001-present), was employed for a time as an arena football player. Popular culture, or pop culture, (literally: the culture of the people) consists of the cultural elements that prevail (at least numerically) in any given society, mainly using the more popular media, in that societys vernacular language and/or an established lingua franca. ... High school - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Starship Troopers is a 1997 film directed by Paul Verhoeven, written by Edward Neumeier, and starring Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer and Denise Richards. ... Reba is a United States sitcom starring country music singer Reba McEntire. ... 2001: A Space Odyssey. ...

EA Tiburon has recently developed the first mainstream arena football game under the publisher EA Sports. The game was released on February 9, 2006 (or, according to the EA Sports site, February 7, 2006) and features licensed players and arenas from the Arena Football League. Midway Sports did publish an arena football game in 2001 (Kurt Warner's Arena Football Unleashed). This game was poorly received, both by traditional videogamers who saw it as an unneeded ripoff of NFL Blitz, and by arena football fans who did not like the rule changes and arcade nature of the game. EA Tiburon is an Electronic Arts video game development studio located in Orlando, Florida just north of the downtown area. ... Cover of the Playstation 2 version of Arena Football, featuring Colorado Crush quarterback John Dutton. ... EA Sports is a brand name used by Electronic Arts since 1993 to distribute games based on sports. ... February 9 is the 40th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... February 7 is the 38th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Super Bowl MVP quarterback Kurt Warner returns to his arena league roots to lead the indoor warfare in this release from Midway. ... NFL Blitz was a football game series based on the NFL by Midway until 2005 when the NFL signed an exclusive licensing deal with EA Sports. ... Centipede by Atari is a typical example of a 1980s era arcade game. ...

In 2001, Jeff Foley published War on the Floor: an average guy plays in the Arena Football League and lives to write about it. The book details a journalist's two preseasons (1999 and 2000) as an offensive specialist/writer with the now-defunct Albany Firebirds. The 5-foot-6, self-described "unathletic writer" played in three preseason games and had one catch for -2 yards.


Los Angeles Avengers player Al Lucas died, presumably from a spinal cord injury, on April 10, 2005 in a game against the New York Dragons. Although it might be attributed to the rough style of arena football, the tackle, during a first quarter kickoff, was not very different from those in stadium-played American football. Lucas was 26. It is the only fatality in the AFL's history. Conference American Division Western Year founded 2000 Home arena Staples Center City, State Los Angeles, California Wild card titles 3: 2002, 2003, 2004 Division titles 1: 2005 Conference titles none ArenaBowl championships none The Los Angeles Avengers is an Arena Football League (AFL) team based in Los Angeles, California. ... Al Lucas (September 1, 1978 – April 10, 2005) was a football player in the NFL and Arena Football League before being killed in a game for the Los Angeles Avengers. ... Segmental Spinal Cord Level and Function Level Function Cl-C6 Neck flexors Cl-T1 Neck extensors C3, C4, C5 Supply diaphragm (mostly C4) C5, C6 Shoulder movement, raise arm (deltoid); flexion of elbow (biceps); C6 externally rotates the arm (supinates) C6, C7, C8 Extends elbow and wrist (triceps and wrist... April 10 is the 100th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (101st in leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Conference National Division Eastern Year founded 1995 Home arena Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum City, State Uniondale, New York Wild card titles 1: 1995 Division titles 8: 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 Conference titles none ArenaBowl championships none The New York Dragons are an Arena Football League team. ... Most forms of football have a move known as a tackle. ... Telstra Stadium in Sydney, Australia is capable of being converted from a rectangular rugby football field to an oval for cricket and Australian rules football games A modern stadium (plural stadiums or stadia in English) is a place, or venue, for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts or other events, consisting of...

The only fatality in af2 history was Bakersfield Blitz FB/LB Julian Yearwood on July 19, 2003 during a game against the Wichita Stealth. Yearwood came out of the game in the 1st quarter after blocking a field goal attempt allegedly claiming that he wasn't well, collapsed, and was later pronounced dead at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital in Wichita after medical personnel worked to resuscitate him. af2 (short for arenafootball2) is the name of the Arena Football Leagues minor league, which started play in 2000. ... July 19 is the 200th day (201st in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 165 days remaining. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Wichita Stealth is a now-defunct 2001 af2 expansion franchise. ...

See also

The Arena Football League (AFL) sometimes referred to by fans as the Arena League was founded in 1987 as an American football indoor league. ... af2 (short for arenafootball2) is the name of the Arena Football Leagues minor league, which started play in 2000. ... The following terms are used in American football and Canadian football. ...

External links



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