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Jim Foster, AFL Celebrate 30-Year Anniversary of Game's Invention

February 11, 2011 - Arena Football League (AFL) News Release

TULSA, OKLA. - It was 30-years ago, today, that Jim Foster invented the distinguishing game of Arena Football. On February 11, 1981, Jim Foster attended the Major Indoor Soccer League All-Star game at Madison Square Garden and developed the concept of Arena Football on the back of a 9 x 12 inch manila envelope.

"It doesn't seem like 30-years ago. I don't want to accept it. It was one of those nights in your life that you don't realize what is happening and about to unfold in front of you and all of the history that's coming," Foster said. "As I look at the envelope, it really strikes quite a chord in you with all of the things that have happened in the development of the game from its earliest stages."

After inventing a game on a 50-yard field with narrow field goal posts, the first test game was played on April 26, 1987, with the Rockford Metros hosting the Chicago Politicians. In June 1987, a four-team Arena Football League was launched.

"To think that all this started with a thought that popped into my head that you can play football indoors is amazing," Foster said.

Today, the Arena Football League consists of 18-teams throughout the country and is broadcasted nationally on NFL Network. The League will kick off its 24th season on March 11.

"Here we are, 30-years down the road," Foster said. "The League has been through triumphs and tribulations but the thing I think about the most are the thousands of players that had the chance to play football that might not have otherwise. That means a lot to me. So many people have been able to work in front offices, learn this business, further their careers and coach. There were a lot of jobs created in the industry."

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