Arena Football League coming to Pittsburgh
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Pittsburgh will be home to outdoor hockey this winter and indoor football in the spring.
Multiple sources confirmed Wednesday that the Arena Football League is returning to one of its original cities with an expansion team whose ownership group includes former Steeler and NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann. An announcement is expected Friday at Consol Energy Center.
The indoor football team will play home games in the city's state-of-the-art arena, which opened last night.
Neither the Penguins nor the Steelers hold ownership stakes in the AFL team. Officials from both franchises and the AFL declined comment. Swann did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
The arrival of an AFL team continues a big summer for the Penguins, who will play their first regular-season NHL game at Consol Energy Center on Oct. 7.
The team pledged to bring big events to the region if a new arena were built. The AFL announcement will follow McCartney's first local arena shows since 1990. Last month, the NCAA awarded the 2013 Frozen Four — men's ice hockey semifinals and final — to Consol Energy Center, which will host the first and second rounds of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament.
Penguins President David Morehouse said last month the team is trying to land NCAA wrestling championship tournaments, the NHL All-Star Game, the NHL Entry Draft and hockey's World Junior Championships.
The Pittsburgh Gladiators were one of the four original AFL franchises in 1987. The AFL's first game was played in the Civic Arena between the Gladiators and Washington Commandos. The Gladiators lost ArenaBowl I to the Denver Dynamite that season in a game played with the dome open at the Igloo.
The Gladiators relocated to Tampa Bay in 1991. Renamed the Storm, that franchise will try for its sixth AFL title Friday night in ArenaBowl XXIII in Spokane against the Spokane Shock.
The AFL returned for a 2010 season after financial problems forced the league to cancel its 2009 season. The league filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December 2008, and all assets were liquidated. A league known as Arena Football 1 purchased those assets, which included league history and team names, and restored the AFL name in February before 15 teams began play in April. The league has a contract to have games televised on the NFL Network.
Pittsburgh will be the fourth city added for the 2011 season, joining former AFL members San Jose, Kansas City and Philadelphia.
For every year from 1988-2008, the AFL began play with at least one franchise having been relocated or dissolved. Famous AFL alumni who made an NFL impact include former Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox and two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner.Additional Information:
About the AFL
• The AFL uses a football equal in size and weight to an NFL football. Basic uniform components are the same, and touchdowns count for six points, but otherwise, the leagues differ in many ways.
• The AFL artificial playing surface is 85 feet long and 50 yards wide. Goal posts are 9 feet high, and end zones include rebound nets that are in play. Also, the surface is lined by 48-inch-tall sideline walls consisting of foam rubber.
• Eight players from a 20-man active roster are allowed on the field of play, with four offensive and three defensive players at the line of scrimmage. Blitzing is limited to one designated linebacker, and offenses are afforded one wide receiver to move forward while in motion before the snap.
• Scoring differences include drop-kick points (three for a post-touchdown conversion and four for a field goal).
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