Arena Football 101: The Season Starts Now

The Georgia Force plays arena football right here in Gwinnett, will you be in the stands to cheer on the home team?

The Georgia Force will play their home opener on Monday, March 12 at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth against the Cleveland Gladiators. With nine home games in Gwinnett and ticket prices that will run from $10 to $100 per seat, this fast, high scoring sport offers residents a convenient sporting activity close to home.

In case you aren’t familiar with arena football, here are some basics you need to know before heading to a game. According to Wikipedia, arena football is a variety of gridiron football played by the AFL (Arena Football League). The sport was invented back in 1981 by James F. Foster, Jr. a former executive of the NFL.

The game is exclusively played indoors on a field the same width as a standard NHL hockey rink. The length of the playing field is 50 yards, half that of a regular football field. End zones may be rectangular in shape or curved depending on the venue being used. The sidelines are marked by heavily padded sideline barriers and players are not counted as out of bounds unless he is pushed into or falls over one of the sideline barriers. The field is surrounded by rebound nets and the football is considered "live" and in play when it bounces off the these nets when passed or fumbled.

The goalposts uprights in arena football are set at nine feet and tightly stretched rebound nets are positioned on either side of these posts. Miss a field goal and the ball bounces back into the field of play and is considered a “live” ball.

Arena football teams field eight players at a time. Four offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage at the snap and three defensive players must be in a three or four point stance at the snap. Two defenders play as linebackers called the Mac and the Jack. The Mac may blitz however the Jack may not blitz but can roam sideline to sideline within five yards from the line of scrimmage and also may choose to drop into coverage after the QB pump fakes.

Kick offs are made from the goal line in arena football and no punts are allowed. The offensive has four downs to score or advance the ball ten yards. Scoring is the same as in regular football however drop kick field goals score four points during regular play and two points when completed as extra point conversions. Arena football games last for four 15 minute quarters.

Now that you have the basics of the game you can check out the Georgia Force at the Gwinnett Arena. Tickets are available online and the NFL Network will feature live arena football on Fridays at 8 p.m.




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