TULSA, OKLA. – It was 30-years ago, today, that Jim Foster invented the distinguishing game
of Arena Football. On February 11, 1981, Jim Foster attended the Major Indoor Soccer League
All-Star game at Madison Square Garden and developed the concept of Arena Football on the
back of a 9 x 12 inch manila envelope.
“It doesn’t seem like 30-years ago. I don’t want to accept it. It was one of those nights in your
life that you don’t realize what is happening and about to unfold in front of you and all of the
history that’s coming,” Foster said. “As I look at the envelope, it really strikes quite a chord in
you with all of the things that have happened in the development of the game from its earliest
After inventing a game on a 50-yard field with narrow field goal posts, the first test game was
played on April 26, 1987, with the Rockford Metros hosting the Chicago Politicians. In June
1987, a four-team Arena Football League was launched.
“To think that all this started with a thought that popped into my head that you can play
football indoors is amazing,” Foster said.
Today, the Arena Football League consists of 18-teams throughout the country and is
broadcasted nationally on NFL Network. The League will kick off its 24th season on March 11.
“Here we are, 30-years down the road,” Foster said. “The League has been through triumphs
and tribulations but the thing I think about the most are the thousands of players that had the
chance to play football that might not have otherwise. That means a lot to me. So many people
have been able to work in front offices, learn this business, further their careers and coach.
There were a lot of jobs created in the industry.”
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the AFL has afforded the fast-paced and exciting game of Arena Football to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The NFL Network will once again broadcast an AFL National Game of the Week for the entire regular and post season on Friday nights at 8:00 pm EST, culminating with the ArenaBowl Championship Game in August.
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