“Yeah, I play professional football. No, not for the NFL. No, not for the Arena Football League. Yeah, no, you’re not going to guess it.”
~AIFL Starting Quarterback
America loves football as much as they love concussions. And they must love concussions, because they really love football. Long the nation’s most popular sport, it is responsible for the majority of the nation’s millionaires who weigh in over 300 pounds. However, when we think of football, we think of two types of players: The really good ones who get paid ridiculous amounts of money in exchange for taking years off their life like some sort of warped bizarro-Dorian-Gray (NFL) or the occasionally-great-but-normally-okay ones who put their body at risk for free but get in trouble if they accept a free tattoo (NCAA). Now, some of you might say, “Hey, there’s also the Arena Football League! You know, with guys not quite good enough to play in the NFL?” and to you we’d say, wow, someone’s been watching ESPN2 at 3 in the afternoon on a slow sports day. But you are right, the Arena Football League does have a small hold in America, and since they’re based in major cities, they manage to stay relevant enough that upon hearing the words “I’m the quarterback of the Chicago Rush” you’d typically respond, “Oh, right, I think I’ve heard of them.”
But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the insufferably poor quality of NFL Thursday night games, it’s that America views football a lot like they view sex. When it’s good, it’s really good. And when it’s bad? It’s still pretty good. So even though not everyone who played as a backup quarterback for Oregon is going to make the big show, they can at least find a way to get paid sometimes literally thousands of dollars to play a season of professional football in some strange, haphazardly put together professional football league.
A league like the AIF. American Indoor Football.
This is their story.
THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN INDOOR FOOTBALL (Previously Atlantic Indoor Football League/American Indoor Football League/American Indoor Football Association)