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The American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) is a professional indoor football league that was formed in 2006. The league's creation coincided with the demise of the Atlantic/American Indoor Football League (AIFL), and all AIFL teams subsequently joined the AIFA. Founders and owners of the AIFA are John Morris and Michael Mink.

Sixteen teams participate in the AIFA, which is concentrated mostly in mid-sized markets in the eastern United States and the Rocky Mountains. With the dissolving of the AFL and the AF2, the AIFA has now become the second largest of the 3 major leagues in Indoor/Arena Football. The other two leagues are the Indoor Football League and the newly created Arena Football 1. Though the AIFA and the IFL do not intentionally coordinate in any way, the two leagues are not directly competing with each other for markets. Only three states (Maryland, Virginia & Washington State) and only one city (Richmond, Virginia) have teams in both the IFL and the AIFA. With both leagues having a growing nationwide presence, this lack of significant overlap is somewhat surprising.


The league has its roots in the Atlantic Indoor Football League, which began play in 2005 under the leadership of Andrew Haines. The league began with six teams, all of them based in the eastern United Statesmarker. Two teams played all of their games on the road, and the regular season was cut short two weeks because of teams being unable to secure venues for playoff games. In the 2005-06 offseason, the league changed its name to the American Indoor Football League, while nine expansion teams entered the league and a tenth (the Rome Renegades) joined from the National Indoor Football League.

The 2006 season was marred by the folding of two teams, and the league used semi-pro teams to fill scheduling vacancies. The league was briefly acquired by Greens Worldwide, Inc., the owners of the amateur North American Football League, during the 2006 season, but they terminated the contract soon afterwards. Nine teams left the league after the season, including four who split off to create the short-lived World Indoor Football League). On October 2, 2006, a massive reorganization took place as Morris and Mink set up a new league, which absorbed all of the remaining AIFL franchises, and Haines was ousted. (Haines would go on to found the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League in 2007, before similar stability problems led to the forced divestiture of that league as well.) The league took on its current name at the same time.

The 2007 season was relatively successful for the league, as all 112 scheduled games were played and no teams folded mid-season, a major improvement over the past two seasons (when the AIFA was known as the AIFL). The AIFA Championship Bowl I was a neutral site game held in Florence, SC. In addition, the league held its 1st All-Star Game the same weekend, also in Florence. League owners stated that the neutral site was chosen so that both games could be televised to obtain nationwide exposure for the league.

The league has since expanded nationwide and individual teams have been able to acquire several players with NFL experience, a sign that the league has achieved a level on par with leagues such as af2. The league had earned a major television contract as well: On September 17, 2007, The American Indoor Football Association owners John Morris and Michael Mink announced that the league signed a three-year national television broadcast, mobile phone broadcast, and webcast licensing agreement with Simply 4Me Incorporated, [(known as SimplyME TV)] [178668], who would produce a live broadcast and relay the games on the Internet and through the ION Television network in exchange for US$2,500,000 in rights fees for the AIFA. Due to a lack of interest from national advertisers in the AIFA programming however, SimplyMe exercised its legal right to terminate the agreement. ION subsequently dropped the league from their schedule and replaced it with Western movies. On April 15, 2008, SimplyMe reported in a letter to the league that it would no longer produce AIFA games. Later in the season, FSN Pittsburgh agreed to pick up the remaining games; Erie, Pennsylvaniamarker-based Image Sports Network also televises local games of the Erie RiverRats.

Eight teams participating in the league in 2007 did not return for the 2008 season, including the 2007 champion Lakeland Thunderbolts. The AIFA is the third league since 2004 (excluding the folded WIFL and NIFL before its folding) to lose its standing champion (the 2004 NIFL champion Lexington Horsemen left to join the newly created UIF and are now in af2, and the 2006 champion Billings Outlaws also left to join two years later.) However, nine teams signed on to begin play in 2008, and the league created a Western Conference. In 2007, the team farthest west was based in Mississippimarker; in 2008, the team farthest west was based in Arizonamarker. Three of the four teams who have won the league championship are no longer active league members.

The 2009 season culminated in AIFA Bowl 3, hosted by the Western Conference champion Wyoming Cavalry on July 25, 2009. The game, played before 6,500 fans at the Casper Event Center, saw the Reading Express defeat the Wyoming Cavalry for their first title, 65-42.

As the 2010 season approaches, AIFA continues to expand its nationwide footprint. Expansion franchises have been added in Richmond, Virginia and Wenatchee, Washington. Further teams may be added for the 2010 season.

Basic rule differences

The AIFA's red, white, and blue football
  • The AIFA does not use the rebound net found in the Arena Football League.
  • One linebacker may move flat to flat but must stay in drop zone.
  • Platooning and free substitution is allowed, meaning players do not have to play both offense and defense.
  • Franchises must have at least 9 players that originate from within a 120-mile radius of the team's home town.
  • The AIFA ball pattern is similar to that of the basketball in the American Basketball Association, with red, white, and blue panels as opposed to the brown colored football of most leagues.

Two rule changes appear to be inspired by Canadian football rules:

  • Two offensive players may be in motion at one time. The AFL allows only one in motion.
  • The AIFA recognizes the single (also known as an uno or rouge). If a kickoff goes through the uprights, or if the receiving team does not advance the ball out of the end zone on a kickoff, the kicking team is awarded one point and the ball is spotted at the opponent's five yard line. ( Demonstration by AIFA kicker J.R. Cipra)

2010 AIFA Teams

North Division

South Division

West Division

Potential Expansion Cities

Defunct franchises

Former AIFL/AIFA teams now playing in another league

Championship games

See also


  1. Colts work to return in 2010
  2. Indoor football returns

External links

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