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Arena Football League (1987–2008)

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Arena Football League (1987–2008)

The Arena Football League (AFL) is the highest level of professional indoor American football in the United States. It is currently the third longest running professional football league in North America, after the Canadian Football League and the National Football League. It was founded in 1987 by Jim Foster. It is played indoors on a smaller field than American football, resulting in a faster-paced and higher-scoring game. The sport was invented in the early 1980s and patented by Foster, a former executive of the United States Football League and the National Football League.

The league currently consists of fourteen teams from the United States. The AFL is divided into two conferences  – the American Conference and National Conference. Each conference has two divisions. The Central and East Divisions consist of three teams each, while the South and West Divisions have four teams each.

The regular-season is a 20 week schedule during which each team plays 18 games and has two bye weeks. The season currently starts during the second week of March and runs weekly to late August. At the end of each regular season, four teams from each conference (the division winners and two wild card teams) play in the AFL playoffs, an eight-team single-elimination tournament that culminates with the championship game, known as the ArenaBowl. From 1987 to 2004 and 2010 and 2011, the game was played at the site of the higher seeded team. From 2005 to 2008, the game was at a neutral site, Las Vegas and New Orleans. In 2012, the league championship returned to a neutral site and ArenaBowl XXV was held at the New Orleans Arena; ArenaBowl XXVI will be held in Orlando.

From 2000 to 2009, the AFL had its own developmental league, the af2. The AFL played 22 seasons from 1987 to 2008; internal issues caused the league to cancel its 2009 season, though the af2 did play. Later that year both the AFL and af2 were dissolved and reorganized as a new corporation comprising teams from both leagues, and the AFL returned in 2010. The Arena Football League has its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.[1]

The league's average game attendance since returning in 2010 has been approximately 8,000 per game.

It was announced on December 12, 2012, that the AFL reached a partnership agreement with NET10 Wireless to be the first professional sports league in the United States to have a title sponsor, calling it the NET10 Wireless Arena Football League.[2] The newly redesigned website shows the new logo which incorporates the current AFL logo with the one from NET10 Wireless.

History

Creation

Jim Foster, a promotions manager with the National Football League, conceived the idea of indoor football while watching an indoor soccer match at Madison Square Garden in 1981. While at the game, he wrote his idea on a 9x12 envelope from his briefcase with sketches of the field and notes on gameplay. He presented the idea to a few friends at the NFL offices, where he received praise and encouragement for his concept. After solidifying the rules and business plan, supplemented with sketches by a professional artist, Foster presented his idea to various television networks. He reached an agreement with NBC for a "test game".[3]

Plans for arena football were put on hold in 1982 as the United States Football League was launched. Foster left the NFL to accept a position in the USFL. He eventually became executive vice-president with the Chicago Blitz, where he returned to his concept of arena football. In 1983, he began organizing the test game in his spare time around his job with the Blitz. By 1985, the USFL had ceased football operations and he devoted all his time to arena football, and on April 27, 1986, his concept was realized when finally staged the test game.[3][4]

"Test game"

The test game was played in Rockford, Illinois at the Rockford MetroCentre.[5] Sponsors were secured, and players and coaches from local colleges were recruited to volunteer to play for the teams, the Chicago Politicians and Rockford Metros, with the guarantee of a tryout should the league take off. Interest was high enough following the initial test game that Foster decided to put on a second "showcase" game. The second game was held on February 26, 1987 at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago with a budget of $20,000, up from $4,000 in the original test game. Foster also invited ESPN to send a film crew to the game; a highlights package aired on SportsCenter.[3]

Inaugural season

Following the successes of his trial-run games, Foster moved ahead with his idea for arena football. He founded the Arena Football League with four teams: the Pittsburgh Gladiators, Denver Dynamite, Washington Commandos, and Chicago Bruisers.[5] The first game in Arena Football League history was played between the Gladiators and Commandos at Pittsburgh Civic Arena in front of 12,117 fans.[6] The game was deliberately not televised so that it could be analyzed and any follies and failures would not be subject to national public scrutiny. Following the inaugural game, tweaks and adjustments were made, and the first season continued.[3] Each team played six games, two against each other team. The top two teams, Denver and Pittsburgh, then competed in the first-ever AFL championship game, ArenaBowl I.

Patenting the game

On September 30, 1987, Foster filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to patent his invented sport. The patent application covered the rules of the game, specifically detailing the goalposts and rebound netting and their impact on gameplay. Foster's application was granted on March 27, 1990.[7] The patent expired on September 30, 2007.

Early years

From its inception, the AFL operated in a state of semi-obscurity; many Americans had heard the term "arena football" but knew little to nothing about the league itself.

From the 1987 season until the late 1990s, the most exposure the league would receive was on ESPN, which aired tape-delayed games, often well after midnight. The league received its first taste of wide exposure in 1998, when Arena Bowl XII was televised nationally as part of ABC's Wide World of Sports.

One of the league's early success stories was the Detroit Drive. A primary team for some of the AFL's most highly regarded players, including George LaFrance, Gary and Alvin Rettig, as well as being a second career chance for quarterback Art Schlichter, the Drive regularly played before sold out crowds at Joe Louis Arena, and went to the ArenaBowl every year of their existence (1988–1993). The AFL's first dynasty came to an end when their owner, Mike Ilitch (who also owned Little Caesar's Pizza and the Detroit Red Wings) bought the Detroit Tigers baseball team and sold the AFL team.

Although the Drive left the league, the AFL had a number of other teams which it considered "dynasties", including the Tampa Bay Storm (the only team that has existed in some form for all twenty-five seasons), their arch-rival the Orlando Predators, the San Jose SaberCats of the present decade, and their rivals the Arizona Rattlers.

In 1993, the league staged its only All-Star Game in Des Moines, Iowa, the future home of the Iowa Barnstormers, as a fundraiser for flood victims in the area. The National Conference defeated the American Conference 64-40 in front of a crowd of 7,189.

While the aforementioned teams have enjoyed success, many teams in the history of the league have enjoyed little to no success. There are also a number of franchises which existed in the form of a number of unrelated teams under numerous management groups until they folded (an example is the New York CityHawks whose owners transferred the team from New York to Hartford to become the New England Sea Wolves after two seasons, then after another two seasons were sold and became the Toronto Phantoms, who lasted another two seasons until folding). There are a number of reasons why these teams failed, including lack of financial support from owners, lack of media exposure, or the city's plain lack of interest in the team.

The new millennium

The year 2000 brought a heightened interest in the AFL. Then-St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, who was MVP of Super Bowl XXXIV, was first noticed because he played quarterback for the AFL's Iowa Barnstormers. While many sports commentators and fans continued to ridicule the league, Warner's story gave the league positive exposure, and it brought the league a new television deal with TNN, who, unlike ESPN, would televise regular season games live. While it was not financially lucrative, it helped set the stage for what the league would become in the new millennium. Also, the year also brought a spin-off league, the af2, intended to be a developmental league, comparable to the National Football League's NFL Europe. There was a lot of expansion in the 2000s. Expansion teams included the Austin Wranglers, Carolina Cobras, Los Angeles Avengers, Chicago Rush, Detroit Fury, Dallas Desperados, Colorado Crush, New Orleans VooDoo, Philadelphia Soul, Nashville Kats, Kansas City Brigade, New York Dragons and Utah Blaze. The Wranglers, Cobras, Fury, Kats, Dragons, Brigade, and Avengers no longer compete in the AFL, however.

In 2003, the season expanded to 16 games. There were also several rule changes. In 2005, players were no longer allowed to run out of bounds. The only way for a player to go out of bounds is if a player is tackled into the side boards. 2005 also marked the first year the ArenaBowl was played at a neutral site. In 2007, free substitution was allowed. And in 2008, the "Jack" linebacker was allowed to go sideboard to sideboard.[8]

Decline

After 12 years as commissioner of the AFL, David Baker resigned unexpectedly on July 25, 2008, just two days before ArenaBowl XXII; Deputy Commissioner Ed Policy was named interim commissioner until Baker's replacement was found. Baker explained, "When I took over as commissioner, I thought it would be for one year. It turned into 12. But now it's time."[9]

Three months later, "based on circumstances currently affecting the league and the team", Tom Benson startlingly announced that the New Orleans VooDoo were ceasing operations and folding.[10] Shortly thereafter, an article in Sports Business Journal announced that the AFL had a tentative agreement to sell a $100 million stake in the league to Platinum Equity; in exchange, Platinum Equity would create a centralized, single-entity business model that would streamline league and team operations and allow the league to be more profitable. Benson's move to shut down the VooDoo came during the Platinum Equity conference call, leading to speculation that he had folded because of the deal.[11]

Because of the sudden loss of the New Orleans franchise, the league announced in October that the beginning of the free agency period would be delayed in order to accommodate a dispersal draft. Dates were eventually announced as December 2 for the dispersal draft and December 4 for free agency, but shortly before the draft the league issued a press release announcing the draft had been postponed one day to December 3. Shortly thereafter, another press release announced that the draft would be held on December 9 and free agency would commence on December 11.[12] However, the draft still never took place, and instead another press release was issued stating that both the draft and free agency had been postponed indefinitely.[13] Rumors began circulating that the league was in trouble and on the verge of folding, but owners were quick to deny those claims. It was soon revealed the players' union had agreed to cut the salary cap for the 2009 season in order to prevent a cessation of operations.[14]

Cancelling the 2009 season

A conference call in December 2008 resulted in enough votes from owners and cooperation from the AFLPA to suspend the 2009 season in order to create "a long-term plan to improve its economic model".[15] In doing so, the AFL became the second sports league to cancel an entire season, after the National Hockey League cancelled the 2004–05 season because of a lockout. Efforts to reformat the league's business model were placed under the leadership of Columbus Destroyers owner Jim Renacci and interim commissioner Policy.[16]

High hopes for the AFL waned when interim commissioner Ed Policy announced his resignation, citing the obsolescence of his position in the reformatted league.[17] Two weeks later, the Los Angeles Avengers announced that they were formally folding the franchise. One month later, the league missed the deadline to formally ratify the new CBA and announced that it was eliminating health insurance for the players.[18] Progress on the return stalled, and no announcements were made regarding the future of the league.

On July 20, 2009, Sports Business Journal reported that the AFL owed approximately $14 million to its creditors and were considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[19] In early August 2009, numerous media outlets began reporting that the AFL was folding permanently and would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The league released a statement on August 4 to the effect that while the league was not folding, it was suspending league operations indefinitely. Despite this, several of the league's creditors filed papers to force a Chapter 7 liquidation if the league did not do so voluntarily.[20] This request was granted on August 7, though converted to a Chapter 11 reorganization on August 26.[21]

Relaunch

Following the suspension of the AFL's 2009 season, league officials and owners of af2 (which played their season) began discussing the future of arena football and the two leagues. With 50.1 percent ownership of af2, the AFL's bankruptcy and dissolution prompted the dissolution of af2.[22] That league was formally considered disbanded on September 8, 2009, when no owner committed his or her team to the league's eleventh season by that deadline.[23] For legal reasons, af2 league officials and owners agreed to form a new legal entity, Arena Football 1, with former AFL teams the Arizona Rattlers and Orlando Predators joining the former af2.[24][25]

All assets of the Arena Football League were put up for auction.[26] On November 11, 2009, the new league announced its intention to purchase the entire assets of the former AFL; the assets included the team names and logos of all but one of the former AFL and af2 teams.[27] The lone exception was that of the Dallas Desperados; Desperados owner Jerry Jones had purposely designed the Desperados' properties around those of the Dallas Cowboys, making the two inseparable. The auction occurred on November 25, 2009.[26] The assets were awarded to Arena Football 1 on December 7, 2009, with a winning bid of $6.1 million.[28]

On February 17, 2010, AF1 announced it would use the "Arena Football League" name. The league announced plans for the upcoming season and details of its contract with NFL Network to broadcast AFL games in 2010.[29] AF1 teams were given the option of restoring historical names to their teams. In addition to the historical teams, the league added two new expansion franchises, the Dallas Vigilantes and the Jacksonville Sharks.


For the 2011 season, the Philadelphia Soul, Kansas City Brigade, San Jose SaberCats, New Orleans VooDoo, and the Georgia Force returned to the AFL after having last played in 2008. The league added an expansion team, the Pittsburgh Power. Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann is one of the team's owners. It was the first time the AFL returned to Pittsburgh since the Pittsburgh Gladiators were an original franchise in 1987 before becoming the Tampa Bay Storm. The Brigade changed its name to the Command, becoming the Kansas City Command.[30][31] Even though they were returning teams, the Bossier–Shreveport Battle Wings moved to New Orleans as the Voodoo, the identity formerly owned by New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson. The Alabama Vipers moved to Duluth, Georgia to become the new Georgia Force (the earlier franchise of that name being a continuation of the original Nashville Kats franchise).[32] On October 25, 2010 the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz did not return.[33] The Milwaukee Iron also changed names to the Milwaukee Mustangs. The Mustangs were Milwaukee's original AFL team that existed from 1994 to 2001.

In 2012, the AFL celebrated its silver anniversary for its 25th season. The season kicked off on March 9, 2012. The Tulsa Talons moved to San Antonio, Texas and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers players Derrick Brooks and Jeff Gooch became owners of the Tampa Bay Storm. The Dallas Vigilantes were left off the schedule for the 2012 season with no announcement from the management, raising speculations that either the team had suspended operations for the season or was ceasing operations altogether. (Apparently the latter was the case as the organization did not field a team for the 2013 season either.) Like the National Football League, the AFL postponed the free agency period to October 31 due to Hurricane Sandy.[34]

China AFL Project & AFL Global

In August 2012, the AFL announced a new project into China, known as China AFL. The project is headed up by ESPN NFL analyst and Philadelphia Soul president and part-owner Ron Jaworski. The plans are to establish a 6-team league that would play a 10-week schedule that is slated to start in October 2014. AFL coaches and trainers will travel to China to help teach the rules of the sport to squads made up of Chinese and American players with the goal of starting an official Chinese arena league.[35] Ganlan Media International were given exclusive rights to the new Chinese league.[36]

AFL Global and Ganlan Media were created in 2012 by businessman Martin E. Judge, founder and owner of The Judge Group. The company, called AFL Global, LLC, looks to introduce and launch professional Arena Football teams and franchises in various locations throughout the world (a la NFL Europe). After their successful trip to China to help promote the game, they formally announced plans to further develop AFL China by the fall of 2014 by starting a comprehensive training program in May 2013 with exhibition games planned for the cities of Beijing and Guangzhou in October. This is the first time professional football of any kind will be played in China with the support of the Chinese government and the CRFA (Chinese Rugby Football Association). Key players include founder/CEO. Martin E. Judge, partner Ron Jaworski, CAFL CEO Gary Morris and president David Niu.[37]

Postseason

From the league's inception through ArenaBowl XVIII, the championship game was played at the home of the highest-seeded remaining team. The AFL then switched to a neutral-site championship, with ArenaBowls XIX and XX in Las Vegas. New Orleans Arena, home of the New Orleans VooDoo, served as the site of ArenaBowl XXI on July 29, 2007. This was the first professional sports championship to be staged in the city since Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005.[38] The San Jose SaberCats earned their third championship in six years by defeating the Columbus Destroyers 55-33.[39] Arena Bowl XXI in New Orleans was deemed a success, and the city was chosen to host Arena Bowl XXII, in which the Philadelphia Soul defeated the defending champs San Jose Sabercats.[40] In 2010, the location returned to being decided by which of the two participating teams was seeded higher. In ArenaBowl XXIII, the Spokane Shock defeated the Tampa Bay Storm at their home arena, Spokane Arena, in Spokane, Washington. In ArenaBowl XXIV, the Jacksonville Sharks, coming off of a victory in their Conference Final win 4 nights earlier, traveled to US Airways Center in Phoenix and defeated the Arizona Rattlers 73-70. ArenaBowl XXV returned to a neutral site and was once again played in New Orleans, where the Rattlers returned and defeated the Philadelphia Soul.

Rules

Main article: Arena football
  • The Field: An indoor padded surface 85 feet (26 m) wide and 50 yards (46 m) long with 8-yard (7.3 m) endzones. Goal posts are 9 feet (2.7 m) wide with a crossbar height of 15 feet (4.6 m) (NFL goalposts are 18.5 feet (5.6 m) wide with the crossbar at 10 feet (3.0 m)). The goalside rebound nets are 30 feet (9.1 m) wide by 32 feet (9.8 m) high. The bottom of the nets are 8 feet (2.4 m) above the ground. Sideline barriers are 4 feet (1.2 m) high and made of high density foam rubber.
  • The Equipment: The official football is the same size and weight as the National Football League ball.
  • The Players and Formations: Eight players on the field; 20-man active roster; four-man inactive roster.
  • Substitution: Free substitution is allowed, but some players play both ways either by choice or to step in because of injury. (The free substitution rule was adopted in 2007; prior to this, the AFL mandated a one-platoon system, from which two players on each side of the ball, the "specialists" and the quarterback or kicker, were exempt.)
  • Formation: Four (4) offensive players must line up on the line of scrimmage. Three (3) defensive players must be down linemen (in a three or four-point stance). Only the "Mac" linebacker may blitz on either side of the center. Alignment is two (2) or more yards off the line of scrimmage. No stunting or twisting. Offensive motion in the backfield: One receiver may go in a forward motion before the snap.
  • Timing: Four 15 minute quarters with a 12-minute halftime. The clock stops for out-of-bounds plays or incomplete passes only in the last minute of each half or overtime or when the referee deems it necessary for penalties, injuries or timeouts. Each team is allowed three (3) time-outs per half. In the last minute of the game, the clock stops if the team with the lead has the ball and fails to advance the ball past the line of scrimmage; this discourages teams with the lead from "taking a knee" (i.e., having the quarterback kneel shortly after taking the snap from center) near the end of a game.
  • Movement of the Ball and Scoring: Four (4) downs are allowed to advance the ball ten (10) yards for a first down, or to score. Six (6) points for a touchdown. One (1) point for a conversion by place kick after a touchdown, two (2) points for a conversion by drop kick and two (2) points for successful run or pass after a touchdown. Three (3) points for a field goal by placement or four (4) points for a field goal by drop kick. Two (2) points for a safety.
  • The Kicking: Kickoffs are from the goal line. Kickers may use a one-inch tee. All kicks must be made by either place kick or drop kick; punting is prohibited. The receiving team may field any kick that rebounds off the net and/or lands in the field of play. Any kickoff untouched which is out of bounds or hitting an overhead structure (i.e. scoreboard) will be placed at the 20-yard line or the place where it went out of bounds, whichever is more advantageous to the receiving team. If a kickoff goes beyond the end zone and stays in bounds (such as kicking it into the field goal "slack net" or if the ball goes under the net), the ball will come out to the 5-yard line. The touchback is not automatic; players must attempt to advance the ball out of their own end zone if it is caught there. The same is true if a missed field goal attempt goes beyond the end zone and under the net. If the receiving player chooses not to take the ball out of the endzone (takes a knee) or is tackled in the endzone, the ball is placed on the 2½-yard line. Any field goal or extra point attempted by drop kick is worth one additional point (thus 4 points for a drop-kicked field goal or two for drop-kicked conversion). (Drop kicks are extremely rare in actual play.)
  • Passing: Passing rules in Arena Football are the same as outdoor NCAA football in which receivers must have one foot inbounds. A unique exception involves the rebound nets. A forward pass that rebounds off of the endzone net is a live ball and is in play until it touches the playing surface.
  • Overtime Rules: Overtime periods are 15 minutes during the regular season and the playoffs (teams get 3 timeouts per 2 OT periods). Each team gets one possession to score. If, after each team has had one possession and one team is ahead, that team wins. If the teams are tied after each has had a possession, the next team to score wins. If a game is still tied after 15 minutes a new period will begin and play continues in true sudden death from here on out.

Growth of the league


Average attendance for AFL games were around 10,000-11,000 per game in the 1990s, though during the recession connected to the dot-com bubble and the September 11, 2001 attacks average attendance dropped below 10,000 for several years. Since the start of the 2004 season, average attendance has been above 12,000, with 12,392 in 2007.[41] Eleven of the seventeen teams in operation in 2007 had average attendance figures over 13,000. In 2008, the overall attendance average increased to 12,957, with eight teams exceeding 13,000 per game.[42] In 2010, the overall attendance average decreased to 8,135, with only one team (Tampa Bay) exceeding 13,000 per game.[43]

Expanding the season

The practice of playing one or two preseason exhibition games by each team before the start of the regular season was discontinued when the NBC contract was initiated, and the regular season was extended from 14 games, the length that it had been since 1996, to 16. Since 2011, the regular season league expanded to 18 games, with each team having two bye weeks and the option of two preseason games.[44]

Media

Television

Main articles: AFL on TNN, AFL on NBC, Arena Football League on ESPN, Arena Football on CBS and List of ArenaBowl broadcasters

Beginning with the 2003 season, the AFL made a deal with NBC to televise league games, which was renewed for another two years in 2005. 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. In 2006, because of the XX Winter Olympic Games, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Daytona 500, NBC scaled back from weekly coverage to scattered coverage during the regular season, but committed to a full playoff schedule ending with the 20th ArenaBowl. NBC and the Arena Football League officially severed ties on June 30, 2006, having failed to reach a new broadcast deal. Las Vegas owner Jim Ferraro stated during a radio interview that the reason why a deal failed is because ESPN refused to show highlights or even mention a product being broadcast on NBC.

For the 2006 season only, the AFL added a national cable deal with OLN (now NBC Sports Network) for eleven regular-season games and one playoff game.

On December 19, 2006, ESPN announced the purchase of a minority stake in the AFL. This deal included television rights for the ESPN family of networks. ESPN would televise a minimum of 17 regular season games, most on Monday nights, and nine playoff games, including ArenaBowl XXI on ABC.[45] The deal resulted in added exposure on ESPN's SportsCenter. However, after the original AFL filed for bankruptcy,this arrangement did not carry over to the new AFL, which was a separate legal entity.

The AFL also had a regional-cable deal with FSN, where FSN regional affiliates in AFL markets carried local team games. In some areas, such as with the Arizona Rattlers, Fox Sports affiliates still carry the games.

After its return in 2010, the AFL had its national television deal with the NFL Network for a weekly Friday night game.[46][47] All AFL games not on the NFL Network could be seen for free online, provided by Ustream.[48]

NFL Network ceased airing Arena Football League games partway through the 2012 season as a result of ongoing labor problems within the league. Briefly, the games were broadcast on a tape delay to prevent the embarrassment that would result should the players stage a work stoppage immediately prior to a scheduled broadcast. Once the labor issues were resolved, the NFL Network resumed the practice of broadcasting a live Friday night game. NFL Network dropped the league at the end of the 2012 season.

For the 2013 season, the league's new national broadcast partner is the CBS Sports Network. CBSSN will air 19 regular season games[49] and two playoff games. CBS will also air the ArenaBowl, marking the first time since 2008 that the league's finale airs on network television.[50]

Regular season broadcast games are on Saturday nights. As the games are being shown live, the start times are not uniform as with most football broadcast packages, but vary with the time zone in which the home team is located. This means that the AFL may appear either prior to or following the CBSSN's featured Major League Lacrosse game.

Video games

The first video game[51] based on the AFL was Arena Football for the C-64 released in 1988. On May 18, 2000, Kurt Warner's Arena Football Unleashed was released by Midway Games for the PlayStation game console. On February 7, 2006 EA Sports released Arena Football for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. EA Sports released another AFL video game, titled Arena Football: Road to Glory, on February 21, 2007, for the PlayStation 2.[52]

Literature

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 (170 cm), self-described "unathletic writer" played in three preseason games and had one catch for -2 yards.

Teams

*Former af2 team

Expansions and contractions

The Arena Football League had expanded and contracted many times throughout its history. Every year in the AFL there has been at least one team which did not play the previous season with the same name. The league last expanded in 2011, when it went from 15 teams to 18 teams.

Year # of Teams Expansion Teams Folded Teams Suspended Teams Returning Teams Relocated Teams Name Changes
1987 4 Chicago Bruisers
Denver Dynamite
Pittsburgh Gladiators
Washington Commandos
1988 6 Detroit Drive
Los Angeles Cobras
New England Steamrollers
New York Knights
Denver Dynamite
Washington Commandos
1989 5 Los Angeles Cobras
New England Steamrollers
New York Knights
Denver Dynamite
Maryland Commandos
1990 6 Albany Firebirds
Dallas Texans
Chicago Bruisers Washington Commandos
(from Maryland)
1991 8 Columbus Thunderbolts
New Orleans Night
Orlando Predators
Washington Commandos Pittsburgh → Tampa Bay Storm
1992 12 Arizona Rattlers
Charlotte Rage
Cincinnati Rockers
Sacramento Attack
San Antonio Force
Denver Dynamite Columbus → Cleveland Thunderbolts
1993 10 New Orleans Night
San Antonio Force
Sacramento → Miami Hooters
1994 11 Fort Worth Cavalry
Las Vegas Sting
Milwaukee Mustangs
Cincinnati Rockers
Dallas Texans
Detroit → Massachusetts Marauders
1995 13 Connecticut Coyotes
Iowa Barnstormers
Memphis Pharaohs
St. Louis Stampede
San Jose SaberCats
Cleveland Thunderbolts Massachusetts Marauders

Fort Worth Cavalry

1996 15 Texas Terror Las Vegas → Anaheim Piranhas
Fort Worth → Minnesota Fighting Pike
(dormant from 1995)
Florida Bobcats
(from Miami Hooters)
1997 14 Nashville Kats
New Jersey Red Dogs
New York CityHawks
Charlotte Rage
Connecticut Coyotes
Minnesota Fighting Pike
St. Louis Stampede
Memphis → Portland Forest Dragons
1998 14 Anaheim Piranhas Massachusetts Marauders → Grand Rapids Rampage
(dormant for three years)
Houston Thunderbears
(from Texas Terror)
1999 15 Buffalo Destroyers New York → New England Sea Wolves
2000 17 Carolina Cobras
Los Angeles Avengers
Portland → Oklahoma Wranglers
2001 19 Chicago Rush
Detroit Fury
Albany → Indiana Firebirds
Iowa → New York Dragons
New England → Toronto Phantoms
New Jersey Gladiators
(from New Jersey Red Dogs)
2002 16 Dallas Desperados Florida Bobcats
Houston Thunderbears
Milwaukee Mustangs
Oklahoma Wranglers
Nashville → Georgia Force[53]
2003 16 Colorado Crush Toronto Phantoms New Jersey → Las Vegas Gladiators
2004 19 Austin Wranglers
New Orleans VooDoo
Philadelphia Soul
Buffalo → Columbus Destroyers
2005 17 Nashville Kats Carolina Cobras
Detroit Fury
Indiana Firebirds
2006 18 Kansas City Brigade
Utah Blaze
New Orleans VooDoo
2007 19 New Orleans VooDoo
2008
17 Austin Wranglers[54]
Nashville Kats
Las Vegas → Cleveland Gladiators
2009
0 New Orleans VooDoo
Los Angeles Avengers
Arizona Rattlers
Chicago Rush
Cleveland Gladiators
Colorado Crush
Columbus Destroyers
Dallas Desperados
Georgia Force
Grand Rapids Rampage
Kansas City Brigade
New York Dragons
Orlando Predators
Philadelphia Soul
San Jose SaberCats
Tampa Bay Storm
Utah Blaze
2010
15 Alabama Vipers*
Bossier–Shreveport Battle Wings*
Dallas Vigilantes
Iowa Barnstormers*
Jacksonville Sharks
Milwaukee Iron*
Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz*
Spokane Shock*
Tulsa Talons*
(* Promoted from af2)
Arizona Rattlers
Chicago Rush
Cleveland Gladiators
Orlando Predators
Tampa Bay Storm
Utah Blaze
2011
18 Pittsburgh Power Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz Kansas City Command
Philadelphia Soul
San Jose SaberCats
Alabama Vipers → Georgia Force
Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings → New Orleans VooDoo[55]
Kansas City Command
(from Kansas City Brigade)

Milwaukee Mustangs
(from Milwaukee Iron)
2012
17 Dallas Vigilantes Tulsa Talons → San Antonio Talons
2013
14 Georgia Force
Kansas City Command
Milwaukee Mustangs
2014
14 Los Angeles Kiss Chicago Rush
Utah Blaze
Milwaukee Mustangs→Portland(dormant from 2013) -

Commissioners of Arena Football

League office locations

League finances

The AFL currently runs as under the single-entity model, with the league owning the rights to the teams, players, and coaches.[58] The single-entity model was adopted in 2010 when the league emerged from bankruptcy. Prior to that, the league followed the franchise model more common in North American professional sports leagues; each team essentially operated as its own business and the league itself was a separate entity which in exchange for franchise fees paid by the team owners provided rules, officials, scheduling and the other elements of organizational structure.[23][59] A pool of money is allotted to teams to aid in travel costs.[60]

See also

References

External links

  • Official website
  • AFL Global website
  • ArenaFan Online
  • Arena Football League at OurSports Central
  • 2013 Arena Football League Statistics
  • 2012 Arena Football League Statistics
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