20+ Differences between NFL Vs. AFL (Explained)

American football, sometimes known as football, is a national sport that blends physical play with strategic team activity. However, in the United States, two leagues are sometimes confused: the NFL and the AFL. The NFL is outdoor American football, whereas the AFL is indoor American football.

Aside from obvious commonalities, the NFL and AFL have significant distinct variances. This article will explore the NFL and AFL and the distinctions between them.


Key Differences between NFL vs. AFL:


  • The NFL is commonly referred to as outdoor American football.
  • The NFL field length is 100 yards.
  • The NFL has an open roster.
  • The National Football League was created in 1920.
  • There were only 11 teams when the NFL was created. The National Football League currently consists of 32 teams.
  • The NFL is a strategy-driven sport in which defense wins the championship.
  • In the NFL, there is no score for defense; the team must play dead at the change of possession.


  • The Arena Football League (AFL) is a type of indoor American football.
  • The AFL’s field is 50 yards long.
  • The AFL roster consists of 20 active players and four inactive players.
  • The AFL was founded in 1986.
  • The AFL is made up of 15 teams.
  • The work in the AFL is done faster and with better scores.
  • In AFL, defense is worth two points.

Comparison Between NFL And AFL

What is it?NFL is known as the National Football League of America.AFL is known as the Arena Football League of America
TypeNFL is the outdoor football game in AmericaAFL is the American Indoor Football game
Length of FieldThe Field of NFL is 100 yards in length and 160 feet in widthAFL Field is 50 yards in length, and 85 in width
No. of teams, 32 teams.15 teams.
Timings12-minute halftime with exceptions, and the overtime is 15 minutes.Fifteen minutes halftime with exceptions and 15 minutes overtime
The goalpost18 feet wide and has a 10-foot high crossbar.Nine feet wide and have a 15-foot high crossbar.
Found in NFL was founded in the year 1920.AFA was founded in 1986.
ScoringTouchdown-6 points, Field Goals- 3 points defense- No points,Touchdown – 6 points, Field Goals – 4 points, Defense – 2 points
RosterAn unlimited roster is performed in NFL.20 active rosters and 4 inactive rosters are performed in AFL
No. of players on the rosterThere are a total of 11 players on the field and an unlimited roster.A total of 8 players is there on the AFL roster.
Passing the ball,Both the feet of players are inbound.Only one foot inbounds are needed.
Nets of goalpostNo rebound nets are used in the NFLRebound nets are considered.
PuntingWimps go three-and-puntNo punting is allowed.

Major Differences between NFL and AFL:

What is the NFL?

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league with 32 clubs from the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC) (NFC). The NFL is one of North America’s main professional sports leagues and the highest level of American football.

The American Professional Football Association (APFA) preceded the National Football League (NFL) in 1920. For the 1922 season, the APFA has renamed the National Football League.

Champions were initially decided by end-of-season standings before a playoff system was introduced in 1933, which the NFL Championship Game followed until 1966.

What is AFL?

The Arena Football League is the top indoor American football league in the country. In 1986, Jim Foster invented AFL. It is now the 2nd oldest professional football league in the United States, following the National Football League.

The AFL game is played indoors on a smaller field than American football, making it more hectic and high-scoring. Foster devised and patented the sport in the early 1980s as an earlier administrator of the NFL and the United States Football League.


NFL vs. AFL – All you need to know:-


  1. A professional American football league is the National Football League (NFL).
  2. There are 32 teams in the NFL. Sixteen teams from the American Football Conference (AFC) and 16 from the National Football Conference (NFC). 
  3. NFL was established in 1920 by 11 teams.
  4. There is an unlimited roster where 11 players perform on the field of the NFL.
  5. Three-and-punt technique of punting is allowed.
  6. The scoring of the NFL is 6 points in touchdowns and 3 points in a field goal, but there are no points for defense.
  7. During the match, two feet are inbound of the player inbound.


  1. The Arena Football League (AFL) is America’s top professional indoor American football level.
  2. In Arena Football League, there are only 15 teams.
  3. AFL was formed in 1986 by Jim Foster.
  4. There are a total of 8 players on the roster, and in AFL, 20 men are on the active roster, and five men are on the inactive roster.
  5. There is no punting in AFL.
  6. The scoring in AFL is 6 points as touchdown points, 4 points in field goals, and 2 points for the defense.
  7. During the match, only one foot was inbounds.

Contrast between NFL and AFL:

The Origin:

NFL: The National Football League (NFL), the biggest professional American football league in the world and a 501(c) association owned by its members, is an unincorporated, non-profit corporation. In the year 1920, only with 11 teams, the American Professional Football Association was created. The league now consists of 32 American teams. The two teams, AFC and NFC, each with four divisions and four clubs, are the two clubs that make up the league.

AFL: While watching an indoor Association Football game at Madison Square Garden in 1981, Jim Foster, a promotions manager for the National Football League, developed the idea for indoor football. However, when the United States Football League was established in 1982, plans for arena football were shelved. Foster joined the USFL after leaving the NFL. Later, when he was executive vice president of the Chicago Blitz, he returned to his original arena football idea. He started organizing the test game in 1983 while working for the Blitz. He dedicated all of his time to arena football after the USFL ceased football activities in 1985.


  • NFL:- The National Football League (NFL) is America’s outdoor football league.
  • AFL:- American indoor football is played in the Arena Football League (AFL).

Field Distance:

  • NFL:-The NFL Field has a 100-yard length and a 160-foot width.
  • AFL:- 85 yards wide and 50 yards long makeup AFL Field.

The number of teams:

  • NFL:- 32 teams make up the NFL. There are about 16 teams in each of the AFC and NFC, respectively.
  • AFL:- The Arena Football League has just 15 teams.


  • NFL:- With exceptions, halftime is 12 minutes, and overtime is 15 minutes.
  • AFL:-With exceptions, halftime is 15 minutes, and overtime is 15 minutes.


The Origin: NFL vs. AFL


  •  In 1920, eleven teams formed the American Professional Football Association. 
  • Eleven teams from the NFL.
  • Now, there are a total of 32 teams present in the National Football League(NFL)


  • Arena football plans were put on hold when the United States Football League was formed in 1982. And from the year 1986, AFL gets started.
  • Jim Foster formed the AFL in 1986.
  • 15 teams play in Arena Football League (AFL)

The Goalpost: 

  • NFL:- The goal is eighteen feet wide and has a ten feet high crossbar.
  • AFL:- The goalpost in Australian Football League is nine feet broad and 15 feet high.

Discovered in:

  • NFL:- The NFL was created in 1920 with 11 teams.
  • AFL:- Jim Foster founded the AFL in 1986.


  • NFL:- In the National Football League (NFL), a touchdown is worth 6 points, a field goal is 3 points, and the defense receives 0 points.
  • AFL:- In the Arena Football League (AFL), a touchdown is for six points, and a field goal is worth three. Defense is worth two points, and extra points are worth two points.


  • NFL:- A complete roster is used in the NFL.
  • AFL:- In AFL, there are 20 active rosters and four inactive rosters.

The number of players on the roster:

  • NFL:- There are 11 players on the field and a full roster in the NFL.
  • AFL:- The AFL roster has a total of eight players.

When passing the ball:

  • NFL:- During the contest, the player inbound has two feet.
  • AFL:- In AFL, only one foot inbounds is required.

Goalpost nets:

  • NFL:- The NFL does not employ rebound netting.
  • AFL:- Rebound nets are taken into account. Passing plays and kickoffs that bounced off the nets were performed.


  • NFL:- The three-and-punt approach is permitted for wimps.
  • AFL:- Punting is not permitted.


The Summary:- NFL vs. AFL


  1. National Football League (NFL) was formed in 1920 by 11 teams.
  2. The NFL is referred to as American football played outside.
  3. In certain instances in the NFL, halftime lasts 12 minutes and includes a 40-second intermission.
  4. There is no cap on the NFL roster.
  5. The NFL is a strategy-based sport where the defense wins the title.
  6. The NFL has no defense score, so the team must play dead when possession changes.
  7. In the NFL, there is no restriction on the number of substitutions that can be made.
  8. The NFL field is 160 yards long and has a 6-foot-high pointer border.


  1. Arena Football League (AFL) was formed in 1986 by Jim Foster.
  2. American football indoors is known as the AFL.
  3. With some exclusions, the AFL uses 15 minutes, with a 25-second break between each play.
  4. The AFL roster consists of 20 active players and five inactive players.
  5. In the AFL, a quicker tempo and higher scores are what matter.
  6. The AFL awards two points for defense.
  7. With several exclusions, players in the AFL are only allowed to substitute once per quarter.
  8. The AFL field has a 48-inch high, foam-padded barrier and is 50 yards long.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is AFL more well-known than NFL?

That equals about 65,100 spectators each game for the 256 NFL games played. There were 207 AFL games played, drawing a total of 7.5 million people, or about 36,200 spectators per game.

Q2. Why did NFL and AFL merge?

In 1966, the New York Giants of the NFL signed place-kicker Pete Gogolak away from the Buffalo Bills of the AFL, breaking an unwritten rule that one league wouldn’t sign players from the other league.

Owners quickly discussed a merger because neither league could afford a bidding battle.

Q3. What sets arena football apart from traditional football?

In contrast to many professional football leagues, most Arena Football League players alternate between offense and defense.

Arena football has a considerably smaller 20-man roster on game days than the 53-man NFL roster. The number of players on the pitch is reduced from eleven to eight for each team.

Q4. The NFL is owned by who?

Everyone owns the NFL. Instead, every team is owned by its owners. The same owner owns some teams. Meaning that a single person owns many teams.

Q5. What was the NFL previously known as?

APFA, or the American Professional Football Association. The National Football League, currently known as the American Professional Football Association (APFA), was founded in 1920 by ten football clubs (NFL) in Canton, Ohio.

Later that year, four additional clubs joined the league, completing the 14 Original NFL Towns list.

Q6. How well-known is the NFL in Australia?

In Australia, one of the most watched sports is the NFL. This is because the NFL generates more TV deals, larger audiences, more lucrative sponsors, and more fans globally than other sports, and this is unlikely to change very soon.

Q7. Has an NFL game ever been held in Australia?

The Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers met at Sydney’s Stadium Australia in the inaugural Australian American Bowl on August 7, 1999. It was the first American pro football game in the Southern Hemisphere.

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