What Is Arena Football? Why It’s So Exciting To Watch

arena football

What is Arena Football? 

Put simply; arena football is a variant of the sport played indoors on a smaller field than the one used for traditional outdoor football games. The playing field measures 50 yards long by 85 feet wide, with 8-foot high walls along each sideline.

The game lasts four quarters (15 minutes each) with two 10-minute halves, and teams score by running or passing the ball into the end zone, which is usually surrounded by mesh netting. Also, instead of 11 players per team on the field at once, like in traditional football, the teams typically have just 7 players on the field at any given time. 

Who Invented Arena Football?

Arena football was invented in 1981 by Jim Foster, a former (NFL) executive. It was created as a more exciting and action-packed alternative to traditional football. The first game was played in June 1982 between the Chicago Bruisers and the Detroit Drive.

Arena Football Rules 

The rules differ from regular outdoor football in several ways. For example, no punts or kickoffs occur during an arena football game; instead of punting away possession when needed, teams must complete a 4th down pass attempt within 10 yards of their goal line or turn over possession to their opponents.

Also, rather than an extra point after each touchdown scored in regular outdoor games, arena football uses a “conversion” system where teams must choose between attempting either a 2-point conversion or a 3-point conversion depending on if they want to gain 2 points or 3 points respectively for their touchdown score. 

Why Is The Sport So Exciting To Watch?

There are many benefits that come with watching and playing arena football compared to regular outdoor games. For starters, because the field size is much smaller than regular outdoor fields, fans can get closer to the action and have better sightlines throughout the entire game.

Since there are only 7 players per team on the field at any given time compared to 11 players in outdoor games, each player has more responsibility and plays more often throughout each game, making it even more exciting to watch.

Lastly, its fast-paced, intense competition levels and small-scale nature compared to regular outdoor games make it perfect for anyone looking for exciting play.


Arena Football is an exciting sport that offers something different from traditional outdoor games. Its smaller scale makes it easier for fans to get close-up views of all the action on the field while allowing individual players more responsibilities throughout each game, making it even more intense and entertaining to watch. 

As a little kid, I used to go to games at the old Nassau Coliseum on Long Island to watch the New York Dragons. Some of my best memories watching arena football with my dad. I highly recommend giving it a chance.