New Orleans VooDoo Arena Football
The pro football action in New Orleans continues only two months after the end of the NFL season when the New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena Football League take the field in the New Orleans Arena.
The VooDoo resumed play in 2011 after sitting out the 2009-10 seasons and they rejoined the Arena Football League during the league's first year of an 18-game schedule. The AFL season runs from mid-March through the end of July, then playoffs begin to determine which team plays in the Arena Bowl Championship Game in August. The league has 18 teams divided into two conferences with two divisions each, broken down geographically.
The VooDoo play in the South Division of the AFL's American Conference, along with four other teams in Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Georgia. During the season the VooDoo play each of these teams twice, once at home and once away, and they also play every other team in the conference.
Although the VooDoo was founded in 2002, it didn't enter league play until 2004. That season, playing 16 games, the VooDoo had a stellar record of 11-5, the best-ever first season by an AFL team. They won the National Conference Southern Division Championship, but in the playoffs they lost a close, hard-fought game to the Colorado Crush, 47-44.
In 2005 the VooDoo finished with a respectable 9-7 record but it wasn't enough to get them into the playoffs. The following season, because of Hurricane Katrina damage to the Arena, the team had to sit it out. Returning in 2007, the team posted a 5-11 record, missing the playoffs for the second straight time. In 2008 the team sported a division-leading 6-2 record midway through the season, then collapsed in the second half, finish at .500 with an 8-8 record and out of the playoffs again.
Three months after the end of the 2008 season, team owner Tom Benson (who also owns the NFL's New Orleans Saints) announced that he was discontinuing the team. Two years later the VooDoo was reborn under new ownership when the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings moved to New Orleans.
The team was given the name in recognition of the city's reputation as a center for the West African and West Indian practice of voodoo, introduced here in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Appropriately, the VooDoo's official mascots are known as Bones and Mojo. Their cheerleaders are called the VooDoo Dolls.
Season tickets for the VooDoo's nine regular season home can be purchased by calling 1-888-277-5526. To learn more about the team visit their website at www.aflvoodoo.com.
About Arena Football
Arena Football is played under slightly different rules that regular professional football. Here are just a few of the major differences:
- An Arena Football field is only 50 yards long; half the length of a standard NFL, college and prep school field.
- Each team fields eight players at a time, as opposed to 11 on an NFL, college and prep team.
- Most of each team's starters play on offense and defense, with the exception of the quarterback, kicker and special teams players.
- No punting is allowed. A team facing fourth down must either go for the first down or a touchdown or field goal.
- Kickoffs are from the goal line rather than the 20-yard line as is the case in the NFL.
Another rule unique to the AFL is the setup around the goal posts. On both sides of the goal posts are wire mesh nets measuring 30 feet in width and 32 feet in height. Any missed field goals or kickoffs rebounding off the net may be run back by the receiving team. There are a number of other rules and measurement differences between the NFL and the AFL as well, but most of the rules are the same for both.
Because of the shortness of the Arena playing field and rules that favor the offense, Arena Football games are typically high-scoring affairs for both teams. Fifty, sixty and seventy point games, a rarity in the NFL, are commonplace in Arena contests.