AFL founded: 1987, six years after Arena ball inventor James Foster conceives the game while doodling on a manila envelope at an indoor soccer game
Price of a charter franchise: $125,000
Price now: $7 million
Average ticket price: $12
Average attendance: 10,236
Average player salary: $22,000
Average head coach's salary: $50,000
Field: 50 yards long by 28.3 yards wide, surrounded by four-foot-high walls covered with high-density foam rubber. ("First you get hit, then you hit the wall," says Nashville Kats offensive specialist Tyronne Jones. "It's like adding insult to injury.") The end zones are eight yards deep. Eight feet off the ground in each end zone are two 32-foot-high rebound nets. When a kickoff or a pass bounces off a net, it's a live ball.
Average total points per game: 95.9 ("Some NBA teams don't score as many points in a game as an Arena team does," says AFL commissioner David Baker.)
Rules: Of a team's eight players on the field, six must go both ways. Quarters are 15 minutes. Time runs continuously, with a 24-second play clock; only in the final minute of each half does the game clock stop for incomplete passes and out-of-bounds plays. Three points for a field goal, four for a successful dropkick. One receiver can go in forward motion—but not past the line of scrimmage—before the snap. The offense has four downs to gain 10 yards and a first down. No punting allowed.