Arena Football League Announces 2019 Schedule, Rule Changes
New Rules Aimed at Increasing Speed of Game
Philadelphia, Pa. – The Arena Football League today announced its 2019 season schedule, along with rule changes for the upcoming season. AFL teams will play 12 regular-season games beginning on April 26th. The League will retain the playoff format adopted last season, with four teams advancing to the playoffs. The new rule changes will take effect this season and are designed to improve players’ safety, speed up the game and enhance the fans’ gameday experience.
“AFL football is the most exciting, high-scoring, innovative brand of football and we’re looking forward to bringing it to even more fans this season,” said Randall Boe, Commissioner of the AFL. “The rule changes will make the AFL game more thrilling and engaging as they speed play up, making the game last closer to two hours—which we think is the optimal amount of time.”
The AFL season will begin with a rematch of 2018’s ArenaBowl XXXI, when the Baltimore Brigade hosts the reigning ArenaBowl champions, the Washington Valor. In 2019, each team will play 12 regular-season games over the course of 13 weeks, allowing for one bye week per team. The regular season concludes on July 21, and playoffs begin on July 27.
The postseason will follow the same format as the 2018 postseason, with the top four teams qualifying for the playoffs. There will be a pair of home-and-home series between the opponents in the first round of the playoffs. The two teams with the highest aggregate score following these games will advance to ArenaBowl XXXII, to be played in the second weekend of August. The ArenaBowl game is played as a traditional single-event game, with the winner being crowned the World Champions of Arena Football.
The new rules are aimed at shortening the length of games, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the action in a game already filled with intensity. Rule changes were made to the second-quarter timing rules, the fourth-quarter timing rules, media timeouts, coaches’ timeouts and timing after extra-point kicks.
- The first-half’s one-minute timing rules will be eliminated. There will be no automatic clock stoppage at the one-minute mark in the second quarter and the game clock will follow regular guidelines. Additionally, in the fourth quarter, the traditional AFL clock stoppage rules will not take effect until the thirty second mark.
- The number and duration of media timeouts will be reduced.
- Each team will have three timeouts per half. Two of the three timeouts will be clock-stoppage timeouts only: the game clock will stop and the play clock will reset immediately. The third team timeout in each half will remain a traditional timeout.
- A 60-second play clock will be implemented following the extra-point attempt, and/or two-point conversion attempt, with the exception of media timeouts.