NAL Unveils 2022 Ironman Rules

Original Format of Play Returns to Arena Football

ATLANTA – The National Arena League recently announced the decision to move forward with the original Ironman system for all NAL teams going into the 2022 season. Today the league has unveiled to the public the NAL ironman rules that teams will follow going into this season. 

Ironman football is well known for it’s two-way style of play with top talent from each team going head to head on both sides of the ball. This goes back to the origins of arena football and is how the game was originally played. Ironman is also proven to be one of the safer systems of play resulting in less injuries per season. Below are some of the fundamental NAL rules for the ironman system that have been established for the 2022 season. Each NAL team will follow these rules to compete in the regular & postseason. 

NAL Ironman

Ironman football refers to when the same players from opposing teams play offense, defense and special teams. Each team may designate two offensive and defensive specialists and one for special teams, usually the kicker. All other players will be considered ironmen a.k.a “two-way” players.

Prior to the game, teams provide their 21-man game day roster to the lead official which will list all of their players and designated specialists (offense, defense and special teams). This form will be used by the substitution officials that monitor the game for each team.

How do the substitution rules work?  At the beginning of each quarter and any overtimes, the ironman players on the field who start that quarter may leave the game and return later in the same quarter. For the ironman players that do not start the quarter, once they leave the game, they may not return for the rest of that quarter. All players are eligible to return the next quarter as the process starts again. The specialists will play their designated position for the entire game.  While you may designate any position as a specialist, teams typically designate their QB and one WR as their offensive Specialists, and two DB’s as their defensive specialists.  

The NAL roster sizes remain unchanged for the 2022 season.  All teams may carry up to 25 players with 21 being active for the game.  


The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at . For more information about the NAL visit,,,