The Arena Football League will not return to its Ironman roots for the 2013 season.
The rules and competition committee considered bringing back Ironman rules that were an AFL staple prior to 2007, but decided to keep the current format of free substitution rather than return to two-way players.
“There’s been talk about it for a year,” said Spokane Shock majority owner Brady Nelson, who attended AFL meetings in Phoenix earlier this week. “Some of the old guard talked about bringing back the glory of Ironman, but most of the teams in it now really never had Ironman so to them it’s not of interest.
“I liked the idea, but I do feel that we have better skill players in the one-way game. It was cool to see guys playing both ways, but as long as the game is primarily a passing league I’m fine with (the current rules).”
In other AFL news:
• Teams will be able to offer players and head coaches multiyear contracts. The AFL and AFL players union approved a five-year collective bargaining agreement in early August, but details are still being finalized to reflect the possibility of multiyear deals.
Nelson intends to offer head coach Andy Olson a multiyear contract. Olson was 10-8 in his first season.
“We’re happy with Andy and we want him to be in a position where he can feel confident and relaxed and build as a coach,” Nelson said.
• The AFL is hoping to bring arena football to China in 2014. The six-team league would consist of U.S. and Chinese players and compete during the AFL’s offseason, allowing U.S. players to play arena football nearly year-round.
Philadelphia Soul co-owner Ron Jaworski, one of the project leaders, visited Beijing last month.
The AFL is planning on staging three exhibition games in China in January. Nelson said the games would probably involve AFL all-star teams, including some Shock players.
• The initiative to bring arena football to China seems odd considering a few AFL teams appear to be on shaky financial ground. Kansas City’s franchise is leaving the AFL to play in a regional indoor league, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.
• The AFL will return to five-person officiating crews after having six officials for games last season.
• The exclusive period – when players can re-sign with their 2012 team – begins Oct. 15. Free agency will begin Oct. 29.