Arena football is a quick-paced, high-scoring indoor version of American football. The game was invented in 1981 and first surfaced in 1987 after Jim Foster, a prior executive for the National Football League (NFL), launched the Arena Football League (AFL). Games consist of 8 players to a side with a roster of 20 players.
The playing field is 50 yards long as opposed to an NFL field which is 100 yards long (excluding endzones) with the purpose of having more scoring due to the shortened length offenses have to travel before reaching the end zone.
The rules are fairly similar to gridiron football with a few modifications; Punting is not allowed, meaning teams must either attempt a field goal or go for it on 4th downs. Additionally an extra point is actually an extra two points after a touchdown is scored. If the team accurately kicks the ball through the uprights, they are awarded 2 points as opposed to the one point teams are awarded in the NFL. As for field goals, successfully converted field goals result in the team being awarded 4 points as opposed to the 3 they receive in the NFL. All these rules are in place to make games more exciting and high soring.
The AFL is no longer around after the league recently had to file for bankruptcy on November 27th in 2019 due to various factors including disagreements between the players union and the commissioner, lack of interest, and lack of financing. As for other leagues, the XFL recently re-branded and looks to be somewhat successful.
The two are fairly similar apart from a few very specific rules. The first involves catching. In Arena football, players are only required to have one foot in bounds while making a catch whereas the NFL requires two feet. The second difference is fairly noticeable in that arena football involves rebound nets surrounding the field that are in play meaning that kickoffs and passing plays that hit the nets are still in play. This does not exist in the NFL. Lastly, the field is noticeably smaller in arena football compared to the NFL in hopes of there being more scoring as mentioned above.
When the AFL existed, there were different amounts of teams throughout different periods. The last season the league existed, 2019, there were six teams.
Identical to the NFL, arena football games consist of four 15 minute quarters with a break in between the first two quarters and the last two known as halftime.