|Number of teams||14 teams|
|Country||United States (USA)|
|Most Recent Champion||Arizona Rattlers|
|Most titles won by team||Tampa Bay Storm (5)|
|TV network partners||NFL Network, CBS Sports Network|
|Main Founding Investor||Jim Foster|
|First game played||Pittsburgh Gladiators vs. Washington Commandos|
June 19, 1987
at Pittsburgh Civic Arena won by Gladiators, 48-46
|Related companies||Gridiron Enterprises|
The Arena Football League (AFL) is the highest level of professional indoor American football in the United States. It is currently the second longest running professional football league in the United States, after 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 seventeen teams from the United States. The AFL is divided into two conferences - the American Conference and National Conference. Each conference has two divisions. The East, West and Central Divisions consist of four teams, while the South Division has five teams. League attendance has averaged between 10,000 and 13,000 fans per game.
The regular-season is a twenty-week schedule during which each team plays eighteen 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 highest seed. 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 will be in the New Orleans Arena.
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 Office has its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. 
- 1 History
- 2 Postseason
- 3 Rules
- 4 Growth of the league
- 5 Media
- 6 Teams
- 7 Commissioners of Arena Football
- 8 League office locations
- 9 League finances
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Jim Foster, a promotions manager with the National Football League, conceived the idea of indoor football while watching an indoor Association Football 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".
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 26, 1986, his concept was realized when finally staged the test game.
The test game was played in Rockford, Illinois at the Rockford MetroCentre. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. During the term of the patent, 20 years from the date of filing the application, any other league that formed to play indoor football would be forced to use rules and equipment that did not fall under Foster's patent; no indoor football league would be able to use the goalposts and rebound netting found in Foster's arena football. The patent expired on September 30, 2007, allowing indoor football leagues the chance to use some of arena football's innovations.
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 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 include 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, and Utah Blaze. The Wranglers, Cobras, Fury, Kats, Dragons and Avengers no longer compete in the AFL, however.
There were also several rule changes. In 2003, the season expanded to 16 games. 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.
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."
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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". 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.
High hopes for the AFL waned when interim commissioner Ed Policy announced his resignation, citing the obsolescence of his position in the reformatted league. 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. 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. 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 announcing that while the league is not folding, it is 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. This request was granted on August 7, though converted to a Chapter 11 reorganization on August 26.
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. 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. 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.
All assets of the Arena Football League were put up for auction. 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. 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. The assets were awarded to Arena Football 1 on December 7, 2009, with a winning bid of $6.1 million.
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. 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 playing in 2008. The league added the 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. Even though they were returning teams, the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings moved to New Orleans as the VooDoo, who used to be owned by New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson. The Alabama Vipers moved to Duluth, Georgia to become the Georgia Force. On October 25, 2010 the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz did not return. 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 9th 2012. The Tulsa Talons moved to San Antonio and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers players Derrick Brooks and Jeff Gooch became owners of the Tampa Bay Storm.
Template:Rellink 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. The San Jose SaberCats earned their third championship in six years by defeating the Columbus Destroyers 55-33. 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. In 2010, the location returned to being decided by which of the two participated 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 and defeated the Arizona Rattlers 73-70.
- The Field: An indoor padded surface 85 feet wide and 50 yards long with 8 yard endzones. Goal posts are 9 feet wide with a crossbar height of 15 feet (NFL goalposts are 18.5 feet wide with the crossbar at 10 feet). The goalside rebound nets are 30 feet wide by 32 feet high. The bottom of the nets are 8 feet above the ground. Sideline barriers are 48 inches 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.
- 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 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. Punting is illegal. On fourth down, a team may go for a first down, touchdown or field goal. The receiving team may field any kickoff or missed field goal that rebounds off the net. 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 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.
- 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. 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.
Growth of the league
Template:AFL Labelled Map 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. 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. In 2010, the overall attendance average decreased to 8,135, with only one team (Tampa Bay) exceeding 13,000 per game.
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. For 2011, the regular season league expanded to 18 games, with each team having two bye weeks and the option of two preseason games.
- Main article: AFL on NBC
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) for eleven regular-season games & 1 game.
On December 19, 2006, ESPN announced the purchase of a minority stake in the AFL. This deal includes 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. The deal resulted in added exposure on ESPN's SportsCenter. This did not carry over to the new AFL/Arena Football One, 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.
The AFL currently has its national television deal with the NFL Network, carrying a weekly Friday night package. The deal began in 2010. The announcers are Ari Wolfe, Anthony Herron, Paul Burmeister, Charles Davis, Tom Waddle, and Michael Lombardi. All AFL games not on the NFL Network can be seen for free online, provided by Ustream.
For the 2011 season, local markets included regional broadcast contracts with teams respectively:
- KSMO-TV - Kansas City Command
- Bright House Sports Network - Tampa Bay Storm and Orlando Predators
- Comcast SportsNet Bay Area - San Jose SaberCats
- WCWJ (CW 17) - Jacksonville Sharks
- SWX Sports - Spokane Shock, Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, North Eastern Oregon
- KUCW|CW 30 and KTVX - Utah Blaze (Salt Lake City Area)
- Time Warner Cable - Dallas Vigilantes
- Cox Sports Television - New Orleans Voodoo
- WGN and Comcast SportsNet Chicago - Chicago Rush
- TWC SPORTS32 - Milwaukee Mustangs
- WMCN-TV - Philadelphia Soul
- WPCW-TV - Pittsburgh Power
The first video game 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.
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.
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|
Los Angeles Cobras
New York Knights
|1989||5||Los Angeles Cobras
New York Knights
|Chicago Bruisers||Washington Commandos|
New Orleans Night
|Washington Commandos||Pittsburgh → Tampa Bay Storm|
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
|Detroit → Massachusetts Marauders|
St. Louis Stampede
San Jose SaberCats
Fort Worth Cavalry
|1996||15||Texas Terror||Las Vegas → Anaheim Piranhas
Fort Worth → Minnesota Fighting Pike
(dormant from 1995)
(from Miami Hooters)
New Jersey Red Dogs
New York CityHawks
St. Louis Stampede
|Memphis → Portland Forest Dragons|
|1998||14||Anaheim Piranhas||Massachusetts Marauders → Grand Rapids Rampage
(dormant for three years)
(from Texas Terror)
|1999||15||Buffalo Destroyers||New York → New England Sea Wolves|
|Portland → Oklahoma Wranglers|
|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
|Nashville → Georgia Force|
|2003||16||Colorado Crush||Toronto Phantoms||New Jersey → Las Vegas Gladiators|
New Orleans VooDoo
|Buffalo → Columbus Destroyers|
|2005||17||Nashville Kats||Carolina Cobras
|2006||18||Kansas City Brigade
|New Orleans VooDoo|
|2007||19||New Orleans VooDoo|
|Las Vegas → Cleveland Gladiators|
||0||New Orleans VooDoo
Los Angeles Avengers
Grand Rapids Rampage
Kansas City Brigade
New York Dragons
San Jose SaberCats
Tampa Bay Storm
Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings*
Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz*
(* Former af2 team)
(** Former AIFA team)
Tampa Bay Storm
||18||Pittsburgh Power||Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz||Kansas City Command
San Jose SaberCats
|Alabama Vipers → Georgia Force
Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings → New Orleans VooDoo
|Kansas City Command|
(from Kansas City Brigade)
(from Milwaukee Iron)
||17||Dallas Vigilantes||Tulsa Talons → San Antonio Talons|
Commissioners of Arena Football
- Jim Foster – 1987–1992
- Joe O'Hara – 1992–1994
- Jim Drucker – 1994–1996
- C. David Baker – 1996–2008
- Ed Policy (interim) – 2008–2009
- Jerry Kurz – 2010–present
League office locations
- Chicago (1987–2009)
- Tulsa (2010–2011)
- Chicago (2012-Present)
The AFL runs a single-entity model with the league owning the rights to the teams, players, and coaches. The single-entity model was adopted in 2010. Prior to that, each team essentially operated as its own business outside of the league. A pool of money is allotted to teams to aid in travel costs.
- "A good idea...on paper", The Florida Times-Union, May 12, 2001. Retrieved on 2009-08-06.
- "Arena Football League: A history of playing rough indoors", Sports Business Journal, January 23, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-08-06.
- "It was 21 years ago today...", ArenaFootball.com, June 19, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-08-06.
- Template:Cite patent
- ESPN - New rules make big impact - AFL (2008-03-05). Retrieved on 2008-12-29.
- "Baker resigns as AFL commissioner after successful 12 years", ESPN, July 26, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-08-08.
- "VooDoo terminates operations", New Orleans Times-Picayune, October 14, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-08-08.
- "AFL owners OK sale of $100 million stake", Sports Business Journal, October 22, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-08-08.
- "AFL dispersal draft and free agency dates set (UPDATED 12/3)", ArenaFan Online, December 3, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-08-08.
- "Dispersal draft and free agency dates postponed", ArenaFan Online, December 9, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-08-08.
- "AFL players agree to salary cut to help league", The Grand Rapids Press, December 10, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-08-08.
- "AFL suspends 2009 season", ArenaFan Online, December 15, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-08-08.
- "AFL extends health insurance of Rampage, others", The Grand Rapids Press, March 2, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-08-09.
- "Acting head Policy steps aside at AFL", Sports Business Journal, April 6, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-08-09.
- "AFL axing players' health insurance; Rampage's Gowins 'less optimistic' about league's return", The Grand Rapids Press, May 28, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-08-09.
- "Chapter 11 a possibility as AFL tries to keep hopes alive for 2010 season", Sports Business Journal, July 20, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-08-09.
- Yerak, Becky (2009-08-11). Group trying to force Arena Football into bankruptcy. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- Latzke, Jeff (September 24, 2009). New arena football league in the works. Monterey Herald. Retrieved on September 29, 2009.
- Johnson, Dan (September 9, 2009). Barnstormers hope to land in top tier of redefined league. Des Moines Register. Retrieved on September 29, 2009.
- "Arena Football League assets (even trophy) set to hit the auction block", USA Today, November 3, 2009.
- Arena Football One Announces AFL Asset Bid.
- Court approves sale of AFL assets to AF1. ArenaFan.com (December 8, 2009). Retrieved on December 8, 2009.
- "Arena Football League Relaunches", Arena Football League, February 17, 2010. Retrieved on 2010-02-17.
- Philadelphia Soul return to AFL (June 15, 2010). Retrieved on June 15, 2010.
- "Ex-champion Philadelphia Soul returning to Arena Football League", USA Today, June 15, 2010. Retrieved on June 15, 2010.
- Yard Dawgz will not play in AFL in 2011. OKCYardDawgz.com (October 25, 2010). Retrieved on October 25, 2010. [dead link]
- ArenaBowl XXI - New Orleans (2006-11-30).
- SaberCats are ArenaBowl XXI Champions! (2007-12-13).
- ArenaBowl Returns to New Orleans (2008-03-08).
- ArenaFan Online : AFL Attendance
- ArenaFan Online: AFL Arena Football History - Year By Year - 2008. Retrieved on 2008-12-17.
- ArenaFan Online: AFL Arena Football History - Year By Year - 2010. Retrieved on 2011-04-15.
- AFL Moves To 18-Game Regular Season Schedule For 2011. Arena Football League (August 30, 2010). Retrieved on September 1, 2010.
- AFL, ESPN enter into five-year agreement. ArenaFootball.com.
- NFL Network to broadcast new arena league’s games
- NFL Network Names Announcers For Arena Football League Debut. Arena Football League (March 29, 2010). Retrieved on March 29, 2010.
- NFL Network Schedule News Release
- Arena Football Video Games
- Arena Football: Road to Glory. ArenaFootball.com.
- The history of the Kats stayed in Nashville, similar to the agreement made between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens of the NFL.
- The Austin Wranglers changed leagues from the AFL to af2.
- Baker resigns as AFL commissioner after successful 12 years. ESPN.com.
- Lombardo, John (April 6, 2009). Acting head Policy steps aside at AFL. SportsBusinessJournal.com. Retrieved on April 6, 2009.
- Brown, Mike (September 27, 2009). Caution is new league's strength. Tulsa World. Archived from the original on October 2, 2009. Retrieved on September 29, 2009.
- Sandalow, Brian (September 27, 2009). Travel costs, geography keeps RGV from new league. The Monitor. Retrieved on September 29, 2009.