Glenn Horine, 38, president of Arena Football League Properties, says, "With the XFL you are automatically compared with the NFL," and he believes that hurt the extreme league.
Arena football, on the other hand, is definitely not the National Football League. Eight players line up against each other, instead of 11. And the field is shorter-and always indoors.
But the biggest difference between leagues is that the XFL is R.I.P., while the arena league has grown to more than 1.1 million in attendance. The NFL has picked up on the Arena Football League's popularity, viewing it as a "developmental" league. Kurt Warner, quarterback and MVP of the 2000 Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams, played in the arena league, further cementing its reputation. "He is clearly our poster child," says Mr. Horine.
The league recently expanded to 20 teams; two years ago it launched a smaller-market, 28-team league, AF2.
TNN airs the arena league's regular-season games, but the Viacom-owned cable network took a hit this year because it also telecast the XFL. Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN airs some playoff arena games, and for the second season in a row, Disney's ABC aired the ArenaBowl game in August, with Grand Rapids beating Nashville for the league's championship.