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Arena Football League

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The Arena Football League was founded in 1987 as a springtime and wintertime American football indoors league. Attendence at AFL games in 2002 averaged almost 10,000 people per game. The Arena Football League also maintains a minor league called AF2.

For the 2003 season, the Arena Football made a deal with the NBC television network to televise league games. In conjunction with this, the league moved the beginning of the season from May to February (the week after the NFL's Super Bowl) and scheduled most of its games on Sunday instead of Friday or Saturday as it had in the past.

Table of contents

Rules of the Game Arena football is similar to American football, so only the important differences between its rules and those of the National Football League will be articulated here. The rule differences are intended to make the game faster-paced and higher-scoring.

The Field

Arena football is played exclusively indoors. The field is 50 yards long with 8 yard end zones. There is a heavily padded wall on each sideline. The field goal uprights are 9 feet wide. Taut rebound nets on either side of the posts bounce any missed field goals back into the field of play.

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 (who returns kicks on defense) and two defense specialists. Non-specialists may only substitute once per quarter.


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 and may blitz from either side of the line but cannot drop back into coverage until the ball is thrown or the quarterback pump-fakes.

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. A receiver jumping to catch a pass needs to get only one foot down in bounds for the catch to stand. Passes that bounce of the rebound nets remain live. Field goal attempts that bounce off the rebound nets may be returned by the defending team.


The scoring is the same as in the NFL with the addition of a drop kick field goal which is worth four points during normal play or two points as a post-touchdown conversion.


The clock stops for out of bounds plays or incomplete passes only in the last minute of each half or due to penalties, injuries or timeouts. Overtime periods last 15 minutes. 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 wins.

Eastern Division
Buffalo Destroyers
Las Vegas Gladiators[?]
New York Dragons[?]
Detroit Fury[?]

Southern Division
Carolina Cobras[?]
Georgia Force[?]
Orlando Predators[?]
Tampa Bay Storm[?]

Western Division
Arizona Rattlers[?]
Colorado Crush[?]
Los Angeles Avengers[?]
San Jose Sabercats[?]

Central Division
Chicago Rush[?]
Dallas Desperados[?]
Grand Rapids Rampage[?]
Indiana Firebirds[?]

Championship Games The Arena League's championship game is called the Arena Bowl. Previous results:

1987 -- Arena Bowl I[?] -- Denver Dynamite[?] def. Pittsburgh Gladiators[?] 45-16
1988 -- Arena Bowl II[?] -- Detroit Drive[?] def. Chicago Bruisers[?] 24-13
1989 -- Arena Bowl III[?] -- Detroit Drive[?] def. Pittsburgh Gladiators[?] 39-26
1990 -- Arena Bowl IV[?] -- Detroit Drive[?] def. Dallas Texans[?] 51-27
1991 -- Arena Bowl V[?] -- Tampa Bay Storm[?] def. Detroit Drive[?] 48-42
1992 -- Arena Bowl VI[?] -- Detroit Drive[?] def. Orlando Predators[?] 56-38
1993 -- Arena Bowl VII[?] -- Tampa Bay Storm[?] def. Detroit Drive[?] 51-31
1994 -- Arena Bowl VIII[?] -- Arizona Rattlers[?] def. Orlando Predators[?] 36-31
1995 -- Arena Bowl IX[?] -- Tampa Bay Storm[?] def. Orlando Predators[?] 48-35
1996 -- Arena Bowl X[?] -- Tampa Bay Storm[?] def. Iowa Barnstormers[?] 42-38
1997 -- Arena Bowl XI[?] -- Arizona Rattlers[?] def. Iowa Barnstormers[?] 55-33
1998 -- Arena Bowl XII[?] -- Orlando Predators[?] def. Tampa Bay Storm[?] 62-31
1999 -- Arena Bowl XIII[?] -- Albany Firebirds[?] def. Orlando Predators[?] 59-48
2000 -- Arena Bowl XIV[?] -- Orlando Predators[?] def. Nashville Kats[?] 41-38
2001 -- Arena Bowl XV[?] -- Grand Rapids Rampage[?] def. Nashville Kats[?] 64-42
2002 -- Arena Bowl XVI[?] -- San Jose Sabercats[?] def. Arizona Rattlers[?] 52-14
2003 -- Arena Bowl XVII[?] -- Tampa Bay Storm[?] def. Arizona Rattlers[?] 43-29

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