The original Arena Football League played 22 consecutive seasons
Franchises from Arena Football League and af2 to Form Arena Football 1
Oklahoma City, Okla. (Thursday, September 24, 2009) – Sources within the world of arena football leaked tonight that a press conference is planned for Monday to announce the return of the hybrid sport that celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2007 before shutting its doors earlier this year. Plans are now underway to merge some of the surviving teams from the Arena Football League and its minor league brethren, arenafootball2, into a new league that will be called Arena Football 1.
"The owners meetings are Monday morning, and they're really going to line everything out on Monday morning as far as how the divisions go and what teams from the AFL are actually going to join Arena Football 1 and what teams from af2 are going to join," said Troy Thompson, Director of Operations for the Arkansas Twisters of the af2.
Earlier this year, the AFL officially canceled their 2009 season, blaming financial woes as the cause of its demise. The league had gone on a 22-year run and possessed such big name owners as Mike Ditka, John Elway, Jerry Jones, Arthur Blank and Jon Bon Jovi when the lights went out. During its last season of play, the AFL also had an impressive TV deal with ESPN that included a weekly telecast on Monday nights.
The af2 was formed in 1999 as the official minor league for the AFL and operated essentially as its own entity. When the AFL shut down, the af2 continued to play the 50-yard “brawl between the walls” and completed this past season with 25 teams. While the game went on, Thompson noted that a restructuring of the league was almost imminent after the AFL ceased operations.
"When the AFL went bankrupt and dissolved the AFL, because the af2 was an arm of the AFL, af2 in a sense was dissolved as well,” Thompson continued. “This is basically the af2 reforming itself, and then from there, whatever they're going to do with the remaining AFL teams that want to continue to play."
It is believed that Arena Football 1 plans to play a 16-week schedule that would run from March/April until the end of summer, which is the same slate that its predecessor used to engage. Many of the other details for the league have yet to be disclosed, but more information should be available following the 1:30 p.m. press conference on Monday.