Football — to Europeans, it’s a sport where players fundamentally use their feet; and this is what soccer is to most Americans. However, in North America, football isn’t football if we’re not seeing a whole bunch of tackling and taking down other players. Yes, this is what we enjoy watching. That’s why an AFL comeback can give us another NLF-like tournament — but indoors!
How Does AFL Differ?
The biggest and most obvious difference in Arena Football League (AFL) is that the sport is done indoors (in arenas that can also be used for basketball and hockey). This means the arenas the players will cover are only 30% smaller than the typical gridiron field. But since these arenas can be used for other sports, the shape of it varies — the corners can be round or rectangular; it’s also covered in padding.
Unlike the usual games that are paused every 15 minutes per four quarters, AFL has a 30-minute interval instead. Moreover, punting is not allowed. And in some cases, a long goal is also counted as punting.
Why the AFL Comeback Should Be Anticipated
AFL is relatively new compared to other American leagues and tournaments that we’ve grown to love. Though it’s still considered football, the sport is not as popular as the NFL, NBA, or the Major League — this could’ve likely been a factor as to why the commissioners filed for bankruptcy last 2019. They stated that it was because of the lack of capital.
The lack of AFL’s popularity doesn’t mean they’re unable to produce their own all-star players. Super Bowl XXXIV MVP Kurt Warner is one of AFL’s Hall of Famers. He played for the Iowa Brainstormers in the past. Therefore, the arena may be different, but the skills and talent that AFL players have are still very much up to par with the players of some bigger leagues, tournaments, and championships.
Supporting Athletes as a Whole
Watching sports like football is a favorite American pastime. It’s even more entertaining when it’s a full-contact sport where we see players go all-out in the game. Unfortunately, this leads to countless injuries that are, more often than not, permanent and irreversible — and we often don’t think about it unless they’re forced to retire because of the injuries they collectively sustained or because they acquired career-ending ones.
Most of us heard how Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field last January. Though he survived the ordeal, it’s a haunting wake-up call as to how vulnerable football players can still be — despite their athleticism. In 1978, Jack Tatum ferociously crashed against Darryl Singley and it left Stingley paralyzed for life.
Almost all athletes who participate in contact sports are also prone to having CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). Boxers, martial artists, military veterans, and football players are at risk of having this disease — and it can only be confirmed that a person had it after they die. However, there are several unnoticeable symptoms of it (but they also vary as well as be misdiagnosed). According to the Journal of Medical Association, CTE can be found in 99% of former NFL players, 91% of college football players, and 21% of high school football players.
Needless to say, these athletes dedicate their bodies and subsequently, the quality of their lives in the name of sport — not just for entertainment, but also to boost American pride and morale.
The AFL comeback may easily go unnoticed by the Americans — considering there are other bigger sporting events in the country. But this is not to say that the Arena Football League isn’t as entertaining and the athletes are less skilled and talented in their field — on the field! Watching gridiron is a favorite pastime and it’s time we supported smaller leagues like the AFL teams and players who dedicated their time and bodies to American football.
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