Arena football is an indoor replica of the National Football League games. So, arena football and NFL rules are similar for the most part. Let us make a brief overview of the arena football rules.
Let us first review the arena football field laws. Arena football is played indoors only, in arenas usually created for ice hockey or basketball games. However, the game is best played in arenas where hockey teams play, due to the fact that the arena football field is the same width (85 feet) as a standard NHL hockey rink. The field is 50 yards long with 8 yard end zones. Depending on the type of the stadium, end zones may have the form of a rectangular (similar to basketball courts) or a semi-circle (similar to the hockey rink). There is a heavily padded wall on each sideline, with the padding placed on top of the hockey dasher boards. The field goal uprights are 9 feet wide, and the crossbar is 15 feet above the playing surface. Taut rebound nets on either side of the posts bounce any missed field goals back into the field of play. The ball is "live" when rebounding off these nets or their support apparatus.
Now let us review players' roles in the arena football rules. Each team has twenty players, of which eight players are active in the fields. Arena football players should play both defense and offense, except for the quarterback, kicker, an offensive specialist (who returns kicks on defense) and two defense specialists. In 2006, the American Football League (AFL) has changed its rules about the substitution system. So, now free substitutions on all kick-offs are allowed.
There are some differences between the arena football rules and NFL rules regarding formations. Four offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage at the snap. One offensive player may be moving forward at the time of the snap. Three defensive players must be in a three- or four-point stance at the start of the snap. Two defenders serve as linebackers and one may blitz from the side of the line opposite the offensive tight end. The other linebacker cannot blitz and cannot drop back into coverage until the ball is thrown or the quarterback pump-fakes.
A few words about the ball movement. As a rule, the ball is kicked off from the goal line. The team which has the ball is given no more than four downs to get score or ten yards. In arena football rules punting is considered illegal because of the playing field's size. A player jumping to get a pass needs to have just one foot down to stand in bounds for the catch. Passes remain live if they bounce off the taut nets. Balls that bounce off the padded walls that surround the field are live; the end zone walls were not live until the 2006 season. The defending team may return field goal attempts that bounce off the rebound nets.
Arena football scoring is similar to the NFL scoring rules with the addition of a drop kick field goal worth four points during normal play or two points as a post-touchdown conversion.
Thus, arena football rules and the National Football League rules have many similarities and some differences concerning the field size and scoring.