THE DYNASTY IN THE DESERT

Rattlers Seek Record Sixth ArenaBowl Championship

By Adam Markowitz
Special to arenafootball.com

LAS VEGAS (August 20, 2016) – The Detroit Drive went to six consecutive ArenaBowls from 1988 through 1993, capturing four titles in that span. The Tampa Bay Storm won ArenaBowls V, VII, IX and X, winning all four. By and large, these two spans of dominance had historically been known as the greatest dynasties in the history of the Arena Football League.

That is to say, until the 2011 Arizona Rattlers started to really get things rolling.

Since that point, the Rattlers are 86-20 in the regular season and 14-2 in the playoffs. They are 59-6 in that run at home. They have three ArenaBowl titles in the last five years and came up one play short of beating Jacksonville in ArenaBowl XXIV. That doesn’t even include the fact that last year in Stockton, Arizona came up literally inches shy of beating a San Jose team which finished with the most wins and best winning percentage in the history of the AFL. It is anyone’s guess what would have happened had the Rattlers met Jacksonville in the ArenaBowl instead of the SaberCats, but it’s safe to say that Arizona would have been favored to win the game.

The average final score in Arizona games since 2011? Arizona 63 – Opponents 48

Five straight Western Division titles and the regular season National Conference championship this year to follow that up. Six straight seasons scoring at least 1,000 points. Six straight conference title game appearances. Four straight ArenaBowl appearances from 2011-2014 and now five in six years.

Yes, the Arizona Rattlers have done just about everything a team could be asked to do, and they’ve arguably accomplished more than any other franchise has in such a short period of time.

As we all get set to turn our attention to Glendale for ArenaBowl XXIX, it’s only appropriate to reflect back to the day the dynasty really got started, a day that happened to take place just 15 miles or so up the road in downtown Phoenix.

The Rattlers finished 16-2 in the 2011 regular season, yet what was, at the time, the best regular season in AFL history was spoiled when Aaron Garcia found Jeron Harvey right in the middle of the end zone on the final play of the game to win Jacksonville’s first Foster Trophy. It was a sour moment for the Rattlers for sure, but it was perhaps in that moment that we should have realized how special this team was to become.

 

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The Arena Football League is in its 29th Season in 2016. Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network nationally broadcast AFL games each week, culminating with the ArenaBowl XXIX on Friday, August 26 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. For all the latest news and discussion on the Arena Football League, follow the AFL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@aflarenaball).

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