From the playing field to the scoring format and size of the teams, there are a lot of differences between the NFL and the NAL (National Arena League.) And with Arena Football coming to Portland in April, you'll be able to understand and enjoy the game a lot more knowing these differences.

First let's cover the obvious, the playing field. Where an NFL field is 100 yards long and 160 feet wide, an NAL field is only 50 yards long and just 85 feet wide with an 8 yard endzone. This makes for more scoring opportunities and an all out faster game.

Speaking of scoring, it's mostly the same as the NFL, but a successful drop kick earns two points on the extra point and four points as a field goal.

The goal posts are much different, NFL goal posts are 8 1/2 feet wide with a 10-foot high crossbar where the NAL goal posts are just nine feet wide with a 15-foot high crossbar. There are also rebound nets on the side of the goal posts. Kickoffs and passing plays that bounce off the nets are still in play.

Nashville Kats v New York Dragons
Mike Stobe, Getty Images

One of the major differences in the NAL is the roster. The NFL has a 53 man roster with 11 men on the field during a game. The NAL has a 20 man rosters with only eight men on the field.

In the NFL a receiver must have both feet in bounds to make a complete catch. In the NAL a player only needs one foot in bounds.

One of my favorite differences in the NAL there is no punting on 4th down. Teams must give it their all to try and get to the first down.

In the event of a tie, there will be a 15 minute overtime with at least one guaranteed possession for each team where in the NFL it's a sudden death, first team that scores wins.

Now you can go to a Maine Mammoths game like an old pro!




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