Arena Football 101


To serve our community with pride and passion as a quality example of individual and team excellence on the field, in the office, at the arena and within the community by consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations by demonstrating the highest character, appreciation and respect for our game, customers, teammates and partners as a cost-effective and visionary organization providing a total entertainment experience.

In furtherance of our Mission Statement we, the players, coaches, officials, staff and owners of the Arena Football League are thankful to the Fans that we serve, appreciate their support and dedicate ourselves collectively to protecting their rights as the greatest sports and entertainment Fans in the world.

We believe that every Fan is entitled to a wholesome environment for guests and family members, free of violence, profane gestures and language or rude and invasive behavior that could in any way interfere with a first-class entertainment experience.


We believe that every Fan demands that we maintain absolute respect for the game of Arena Football and maintain the integrity of the finest of fair competition at all times.

We believe that every Fan deserves our very best effort on a consistent basis, on every play on the field, every action in the stands, every call to our office, and every involvement in our community.

We believe that every Fan is entitled to a total entertainment experience at an affordable cost for all members of the family from the time they arrive at the arena to the time they depart.

We believe that every Fan should receive the very best in competitive football, entertainment, merchandise, food and beverage for their purchasing power.

We believe that every Fan is entitled to interact with and have access to players and coaches for autographs and conversation in recognition of their support at every game.

We believe that Fans are entitled to fast, accurate, and complete information about our players, coaches, league, games, and performance.

We believe that Fans expect the Arena Football League to be comprised of gentlemen and ladies who are examples and role models for youth, free of physical violence, drugs, alcohol, and gambling abuse.

We believe that Fans expect us to honor our country and to be involved in our communities to make contributions for a better, safer, and more positive place to live.

We believe that Fans should know that we are committed to serve and not to be served, to give and not to just take, and to inspire and encourage people to higher levels of personal and professional achievement, growth, maturity, and respect for each other.



  • An indoor padded surface 85 feet wide and 50 yards long with eight-yard end zones.
  • Goal posts are nine feet wide with a crossbar height of 15 feet (NFL goal posts are 18-1/2 feet wide with the crossbar at 10 feet).
  • The goal-side rebound nets are 30 feet wide by 32 feet high. The bottoms of the nets are eight feet above the ground.
  • Sideline barriers are 48 inches high and made of high-density foam rubber.


  • The official football is the same size and weight as the National Football League ball. Each ball is manufactured by Spalding, a division of Russell Corporation.


  • Eight players on the field; 21-man active roster; three-man inactive roster.
  • Players may play both offense and defense.
  • Substitution: Coaches are permitted to substitute players at will.
  • 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). One linebacker may blitz on either side of the center. Alignment is two-or-more yards off the line of scrimmage. No stunting or twisting.
  • Offensive motion: One receiver may go in forward motion before the snap.


  • Four 15-minute quarters with a 15-minute halftime.
  • The clock stops for out-of-bounds plays or incomplete passes only in the last minute of each half and when the referee deems it necessary for penalties, injuries or timeouts.
  • Each team is allowed three (3) timeouts per half.


  • Four (4) downs are allowed to advance the ball 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 a 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.


  • 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 untouched kickoff, which is out of bounds, will be placed at the 5-yard line or the place where it went out-of-bounds, whichever is more advantageous to the receiving team.


  • Receivers must have one foot inbounds for a catch. A forward pass that rebounds off the rebound net or sideline barrier is a live ball and is in play until it touches the playing surface.


  • Overtime periods are 15 minutes for both the regular season and the playoffs.
  • 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.


When a ball is thrown or bounces into the seats surrounding the playing field, the "lucky" fan that catches the ball keeps it.

A drop-kicked FG is worth 4 points. A drop-kicked extra point is worth 2 points. Former Milwaukee Mustangs kicker Kenny Stucker is the last man to have connected on a two-point dropkick (1997).

More than 22 million fans have experienced an AFL game in the League’s 21-Year History. In 2007, the AFL drew a record 1,887,054 fans in the regular season, and including the postseason, more than 2 million fans attended games for the first time in League history.

Signifies participants playing both offense and defense.

“Mac” may rush the QB straight on without stunting, twisting or drop-back coverage. “Jack” must stay within an imaginary box behind the line of scrimmage. Either LB may cover the fullback or tight end, but double-teaming is illegal.

Unlike stadium-played football, one offensive back may go into forward motion prior to the snap of the ball.

Arena Football has a unique overtime rule. If a contest is tied after regulation, teams will play a 15-minute overtime. Each team will have one opportunity to score. If, after each team has had one chance to score, the game is tied, the first team to score is crowned the winner.

Goal-side rebound nets extend outward from each upright. The nets are 30-feet wide, 32-feet high and extend to 40 feet above the playing surface. The bottom bars of the frames are positioned eight feet above the surface. The “scoring area” is nine-feet wide and 15-feet high. Nets are stretched taut so that a missed kick attempt will rebound off the net and back into the field of play. Once the ball caroms off the net, it's live.

Similar to the sideboards that surround a hockey rink, the sideline barrier encircles the playing surface. The barrier is made of a high-density foam pad, measuring four inches thick.

When a defensive lineman is rushing the passer, there's no “stunting” or “twisting”. In other words, linemen are required to power past offensive linemen.

One offensive lineman must declare himself a tight end prior to the snap by simply raising his arm and “declaring” himself a tight end. The Mac (rush-eligible) linebacker must line-up on the opposite side of the center from the tight end.

One of the most "throwback" features of the Arena Football League is the fact that the game features eight-on-eight football, where at times, some players will play both offense and defense.