Ladies, is your husband always trying to persuade you to attend a football game? Do you go wearing your winter coat, hats, earmuffs, two pair of gloves and a blanket but you’re still cold? Do you hate how your behind gets sore from sitting on those hard benches (even with the stadium seats)? Do you dread getting up out of your seat just to go to the bathroom (I seem to always have to go) or to get refreshments because it’s just too cold. Oh yes, and don’t you hate the huge crowds at professional football games, not to mention the high prices? Well, recently my husband and I found a great solution to our football problem – indoor arena football. Arena football is something that we both enjoy and he doesn’t have to put up with my whining about how cold it is, or how far the bathroom is, or me asking 50 times “what down is this”? No, arena football has solved all of those problems. Now I still occasionally go to one or two high school games (when it’s warm), but no more professional football, not as long as there is indoor arena football.
Why am I so geeked about arena football? Here are the pluses in my opinion in comparison to good old standard “American” football.
It’s Indoors – I live in Michigan so the biggest plus for me is that arena football is indoors. Last night it was really cold outside, but we were warm indoors watching our local team clobber Summit County of Ohio.
The Tickets Are Much Cheaper – Some of you reading this may not know much about indoor or arena football. That’s exactly the point. It is not near as popular as regular football, thus the tickets for games are much, much cheaper. For example, a ticket for a Detroit Lion’s (NFL) game costs around $40-$70 per game, as opposed to going to see the Grand Rapids Rampage (AFL – Arena Football League) which would cost you from $17-$55 to see a game (almost 1/2 the price of an NFL ticket). This past year I tried to get tickets to a college football game and couldn’t believe how pricey those tickets are. Because there are a few indoor and arena football leagues, you have several teams to choose from. My hometown recently got a semi-professional indoor football team. They are a part of the CIFL (Continental Indoor Football League) which has about 14 teams in the league. Tickets for CIFL games usually run from as low as $8 – $16 (and those are the seats where the players sometimes fall in your lap, and you’re bound to catch a ball). In other words, a family of four can go to the game, and have refreshments for under a 100 bucks. Try doing that at an NFL or even a college football game.
More Personal and Personable – Our CIFL team is made up of mostly homegrown talent. Even the coaches are from a local high school team. But don’t fool yourself, it is high level talent. For example, one of our players has played for arena football teams in Nebraska and Oklahoma, and he played for regular/outdoor football teams in Italy and Denmark. Here is the truth, small leagues make for a more personal “fan experience” and they typically also have more personable players. These guys are happy to be fulfilling their dreams, even if it’s not in the NFL. In reality, these guys are not known nationally and surely not internationally, so they don’t usually have big egos. Even though the AFL probably has some of the “biggest stars”, most of you have probably never even heard of the teams let alone the players.
More Intense, More Action, High Scoring – Now the reality is, I still don’t understand the game as well as my husband, and maybe I never will. But I’ve always had trouble following a football game. Possibly this is because in regular/outdoor football there are 11 men from each team on the field. That is a total of 22 players I have to keep up with. In arena football, there are 8 players per team on the field, that’s 16 players, 6 less to have to watch, and in indoor football, only 7 players per team are on the field. The playing space is also much smaller making it easier for me to follow. Arena/indoor football is usually played on a covered basketball or like in our team’s case, a covered hockey rink. The smaller playing space makes for a much more intense competition. It also allows the teams to score many more touchdowns than they would in standard American football. Some other rules in certain leagues make the game more exciting – like a ball continuing in play when it bounces off of the net. Or if you catch a football, it’s yours to keep.
Games Are Shorter – An American football game usually lasts about 4 hours. Now that’s just too long for me. Indoor/arena football games go a little quicker – about 3 or so hours.
Be sure to check out the league websites to see if there is a team in your area. Also, take a look at the pictures from last night’s game. Do you like arena/indoor football? Be sure to leave a comment and help me give indoor/arena football a plug.