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Arena Football League

From Academic Kids

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Arena Football League logo

The Arena Football League (AFL) was founded in 1987 as an American football indoor league. The AFL's attendance has increased dramatically over the last few years, rising to over 12,400 people per game in 2005. The AFL also maintains a minor league called af2.

Arena Football League logo
The league was founded by Jim Foster, a former National Football League and United States Football League executive. In fact, he had a contract in hand in 1983 to play an exhibition game on the NBC television network, two decades before the first regular season games appeared on that network. He abandoned the plan, though, when the USFL was formed, and did not return to his newly created sport until 1986, when he staged a "playtest game" in Rockford, Illinois at the Metro Center between the Rockford Metros and the Chicago Politicians.

Beginning with the 2003 season, the AFL made a deal with NBC 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. The practice of playing one or two preseason exhibition games by each team prior to the start of the regular season was also discontinued at this time, and the regular season was extended from fourteen games, the length that it had been since 1996, to sixteen. In 2005, the season began on January 28th, during the week between the NFL's Conference Championship games and the Super Bowl. The AFL's championship game is called the ArenaBowl. The league also has new contracts with Nike, Fox Sports Net, Upper Deck, and EA Sports.

The league conducted an expansion draft on September 29, 2004 in order to stock the second Nashville Kats expansion franchise. (The original Nashville Kats franchise moved to Atlanta in 2002, becoming the Georgia Force.) This procedure was completed in a relatively rapid fashion, as Nashville traded several of its draft picks and passed on others, apparently preferring the talent available in the free agent market and, potentially, the upcoming dispersal draft. Nine days earlier, on September 20, the league announced a realignment and the termination of three franchises: the Charlotte-based Carolina Cobras, the Indianapolis-based Indiana Firebirds, and the Detroit Fury. The players of those teams were made available in said dispersal draft on October 14. The league also announced that the ownership group of the Utah Warriors of the National Indoor Football League had been awarded a franchise for Salt Lake City to begin play in 2006, and in an effort to further raise the league's profile, announced that the ArenaBowl championship game will be conducted in Las Vegas for at least the next three years, beginning with ArenaBowl XIX on June 12, 2005. Also, EA Sports is currently in the process of designing and marketing a video game based on the AFL, which should be in stores by the start of the 2006 season.

The rules of the game can be found on the Arena football page.

The current AFL commissioner is David Baker.

Current AFL teams

NATIONAL CONFERENCE
Eastern DivisionSouthern Division
Columbus DestroyersAustin Wranglers
Dallas DesperadosGeorgia Force
New York DragonsNew Orleans VooDoo
Philadelphia SoulOrlando Predators
 Tampa Bay Storm
AMERICAN CONFERENCE
Central DivisionWestern DivisionExpansion (2006 season)
Chicago RushArizona RattlersUtah Warriors
Colorado CrushLas Vegas GladiatorsKansas City
Nashville KatsLos Angeles AvengersBoston
Grand Rapids RampageSan Jose SaberCats 

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