Latin Laser Could Stand Alone After ArenaBowl XXVII
It's amazing to think that in five short years, Nick Davila has managed to do more with his Arizona Rattlers than most men did in their entire careers. However, for all of his statistical accomplishments, it would be a third straight championship in as many years that would really be the icing on an already decadent cake.
This year, Davila hopped over a number of some all-time great quarterbacks in AFL history in benchmark career numbers. He moved past Jay Gruden and Shane Stafford in the chase for the most passing yards by one man in this league, and he hopped over Ray Philyaw and Tony Graziani in career touchdown passes, too. The marks now show 24,894 yards (10th) and 569 touchdowns (8th). Davila was the second quickest in league history to 500 touchdowns, and next season - assuming he stays healthy - he'll end up being the fastest by a country mile to reaching 30,000 yards.
More impressive for the Latin Laser? He only has 69 interceptions, just 17th in league history. His career quarterback rating of 123.67 is second best in AFL history behind just Chris Greisen. Of the 29 individual seasons in league history where a quarterback threw for 100+ touchdowns, Davila has five of them. Davila is one of two men, along with Aaron Garcia to throw for 100 or more touchdowns five times in a career. Even Garcia at his best, though, threw 100 TD passes in three straight years. Davila has done it five consecutive years.
On Saturday, Davila is going to start in his fourth straight ArenaBowl, making him the first man in league history to start four straight title games. The only man who had previously started at QB in three championship games in a row was the man who he is most compared to in Arizona, Sherdrick Bonner. Bonner played in four ArenaBowls, losing three of the four, and he is the only man in league history to start at quarterback and lose three straight ArenaBowls. There is only one other man who has won consecutive championships as a starting quarterback: Jay Gruden.
There are only four other men who have played quarterback in four ArenaBowls. Gruden won all four of his ArenaBowls. Ben Bennett lost all four of his. Pat O'Hara went 3-1. Bonner went 1-3. Davila currently sits at 2-1.
Not surprisingly, Davila should hold just about every passing record in ArenaBowl history when this game is said and done with. Many he holds already.
The Latin Laser broke the record for the highest quarterback rating in a single ArenaBowl in ArenaBowl XXV posting a 142.5 rating against the Philadelphia Soul. He needs 45 pass attempts to break the record for the most throws by a man in ArenaBowl history, and he needs 14 completions to break Bonner's record of 81 pass completions in ArenaBowls in a career. Possibly as early as the end of the first quarter, Davila will become the first man to throw for at least 1,000 yards in his career in the ArenaBowl. He is sitting on 919 now. Gruden has the record at 975.
Davila already holds the record for the most touchdown passes in ArenaBowl history with 23, and he has tied for the most TD passes in a single ArenaBowl with nine from ArenaBowl XXV.
There is still a little ways to go for Davila to hold a number of the all-time records in AFL postseason history. He has a sterling 11-1 record as a starting quarterback in the postseason, easily the best winning percentage for quarterbacks who started at least five playoff games. With 300+ yards passing in the ArenaBowl, he will be tied for third all-time with five 300+ yard passing games in his postseason career.
In totality, Davila has 3,311 yards and 82 TDs in his 12 playoff games. In comparison, Bonner, who holds the record for the most playoff games played for a quarterback in league history with 28, has 6,761 yards and 127 TDs.
Can you imagine if the Arizona dynasty continues another three or four years with Davila still calling the shots? Twenty playoff wins, 150 passing TDs, 7,000 passing yards, and seven or eight ArenaBowl appearances? Not only would Davila easily stand alone as the undisputed best quarterback in AFL history, but it would be highly unlikely that anyone would ever catch him either. Remember that Davila is only 29 years old. There are at least another five years, if not significantly more, in that left arm of his.
However, nothing is a guarantee in football, and dynasties were meant to be shattered at some point. Whether ArenaBowl XXVII is won or lost, Davila has certainly already cemented himself as one of the elites in this great league's history. However, there's a big difference, from an historical context, to being 2-2 in ArenaBowls and being 3-1.
With a victory, the Latin Laser could surely stand alone.