ArenaFan Nation Speaks: Who Will Win ArenaBowl XXV?
NEW ORLEANS -- We are just about 12 hours away from the kickoff of ArenaBowl XXV in New Orleans, as the Arizona Rattlers take on the Philadelphia Soul for the right to win the Foster Trophy in the Silver Anniversary season of the Arena Football League. As a part of our unrivaled continuing coverage from the ArenaBowl, we asked our staff, some experts from across the league, and you, the fans who would win the championship. Here are our staff picks for ArenaBowl XXV!
Adam Markowitz, ArenaFan.com, AFL Tonight Co-Host: Philadelphia hasn't seen a level of physicality like what the Rattlers can bring to the table this year. I think that missing Tiger Jones is really going to hurt this receiving corps, and thanks to the physical nature of the DBs for the Rattlers, Dan Raudabaugh is going to have to stand in the pocket, where we will find out just what time of a quarterback he is and what type of an offensive line the Soul really have. Markee White and Maurice Purify are the most physical wide receivers in the league, and they'll take it to Kent Richardson, Rayshaun Kizer, and the "Soul Patrol." This one is about vengeance for the Rattlers, and they're playing with a massive chip on their shoulder. They won't be disrespected any longer after winning ArenaBowl XXV. Arizona Rattlers
Tim Capper, ArenaFan.com, AFL Tonight Host: The Rattlers seem to have a chip on their shoulder. They seem to be more focused on the prize itself based upon the more difficult path that they took this season compared to Philadelphia. It's not that the Soul are going to underestimate Arizona, but I think that Arizona is the more hungry team. Arizona Rattlers
Joe Kauffman, ArenaFan.com Owner & President: I'm picking the Soul because their general manager is Tom Goodhines, an ArenaFan alum, and everyone knows that the folks at ArenaFan know more about the Arena Football League than anyone else. He put that coaching staff and team together. Philadelphia Soul
Jeff Sims, ArenaFan.com: At some point, someone has to put pressure on Dan Raudabaugh. Arizona, with the recent acquisition of Cliff Dukes, has been able to put more pressure on QBs like they did against [Mark] Grieb and [Tommy] Grady so far in the playoffs. Will Philly and Raudabaugh be able to handle it? Not enough to get a win. Snakes by seven. Arizona Rattlers
Don Eisenbarth, ArenaFan.com: Against my better judgment, I'm picking the Soul to win the ArenaBowl. The Soul have been especially dominant in the second half of the season, winning their last 10 games by an average of 25.1 points per game. I know that their schedule wasn't as hard as what the Rattlers faced during that same stretch, but that long of a winning streak leads to a confidence that I just can't knowingly pick against. I don't think they'll win by much, probably less than a touchdown. Philadelphia Soul
Richard Obert, Arizona Republic: Kevin Guy won't let this one slip away. The Rattlers were clutch late in the first two playoff games. [Markee] White boosts a struggling offense, and rookie Arkeith Brown is as good as there is in the secondary. Nick Davila should be more relaxed having two huge targets to throw to. If the Rattlers can limit mistakes, they're capable of causing enough to take this one. Click Here for Obert's full pre-game story. Arizona Rattlers
Andy Lopusnak, ArenaFan.com: The Western Division was perhaps the best division in league history this season with four teams with at least 10 wins. Arizona not only won the powerhouse division, it avenged three of its five losses in the playoffs with wins over San Jose and Utah en route to ArenaBowl XXV. Nobody has been better since the AFL's reboot in 2010 in terms of wins, completion percentage, passing yards, passing touchdowns, and passer rating than Rattlers QB Nick Davila. Philadelphia plays in the weakest division and in a watered-down conference. Arizona Rattlers
But of course, here at ArenaFan, we are the voice of the fan in the "Year of the Fan." We asked you on our Facebook Page and our Twitter Feed who you thought would win ArenaBowl XXV. Check out some of the fan feedback that we got on the game!
Christopher Mabry: Soul. They got the Desperados quarterback and Vigilantes head man.
Linda Lane: That is easy: The powerhouse Philadelphia Soul with a 17-3 record. If they don't win, there is something wrong!!! They have outscored everyone that they have played. Best defense & best offense & SUPER TEAM all around CHAMPIONS!!!!!
Robert Glory: Go Rattlers… By far the most impressive team the VooDoo played.
Philip Rakoci: The Soul coasted through the easy American Conference, so it is hard to tell who the better team is. On the flip side, the Rattlers have been pounded playing real football all season and might be feeling it. Rattlers will take from the over-confident-because-we-haven't-played-many-good-teams Soul in a close game. Soul's new slogan: "We Got Hit."
Donna Klimowski: SOUL… period! Soul had some pretty tough opponents this season and managed to outscore every team in the AFL… Doug Plank knew he had a good team and he's shown it. Go SOUL… We DEFINITELY got this!!!
We polled you, the Arena Football League fans on the front page of ArenaFan, asking the simple question of who you thought would win the ArenaBowl. The results are in, and a just a slender of our fans, 50.8%, believe that the Philadelphia Soul will win ArenaBowl XXV.
Who will win this one when push comes to shove, though? Find out tonight at 9:30 p.m. (CT) at New Orleans Arena on the NFL Network! Join us in the ArenaFan Chat Room for all of the discussion with the best fans in the world from around the country, and with all of us from ArenaFan that are here at the game! Be sure to subscribe to my Twitter Feed as well, as I'm in charge of keeping track of all of the statistics of the game and will be tweeting out all of the records, facts, and figures for the evening.