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Las Vegas Outlaws make history in first franchise victory over Arizona Rattlers

Adam Markowitz
Sunday April 5, 2015

The Las Vegas Outlaws made some history on Saturday night when they beat the defending champion Arizona Rattlers 70-53 at the Thomas & Mack Center. It was the 14th time in Arena Football League history that a true expansion team beat a defending ArenaBowl champion.

Expansion Teams to Defeat Defending ArenaBowl Champions
July 14, 1990: Dallas Texans 33 – Detroit Drive 29
August 6, 1994: Las Vegas Sting 63 – Tampa Bay Storm 58
June 10, 1995: Iowa Barnstormers 62 – Arizona Rattlers 54
July 15, 1995: St. Louis Stampede 56 – Arizona Rattlers 46
*August 13, 1995: Iowa Barnstormers 56 – Arizona Rattlers 52
June 20, 1997: New Jersey Red Dogs 44 – Tampa Bay Storm 28
July 21, 2001: Chicago Rush 55 – Orlando Predators 41
*July 27, 2001: Chicago Rush 41 – Orlando Predators 26
February 22, 2004: Austin Wranglers 56 – Tampa Bay Storm 48
March 7, 2004: New Orleans VooDoo 55 – Tampa Bay Storm 43
April 29, 2005: Nashville Kats 57 – San Jose SaberCats 55
April 21, 2006: Utah Blaze 52 – Colorado Crush 40
May 7, 2011: Pittsburgh Power 51 – Spokane Shock 41
April 4, 2015: Las Vegas Outlaws 70 – Arizona Rattlers 53

* Denotes playoff game

The 17-point margin of victory for Las Vegas was the biggest for an expansion team against a defending ArenaBowl champion in AFL history.

The 70 points scored by the Outlaws was also tied for the most that any expansion team has scored in any game since 2006.

Though Las Vegas made a lot of positive history, Arizona is now going to have to rewrite the record books if it wants to reach the ArenaBowl. There has only been one team in the history of the AFL to win an ArenaBowl for a second consecutive season after losing to an expansion club in the same year, and that was the 1990 Detroit Drive.

What's more telling here is that defending champs who lose to expansion teams tend to not even advance in the playoffs. Those teams are a combined 3-8 in the playoffs, with the only teams advancing out of the first round of the postseason being the '90 Drive and the 1994 Tampa Bay Storm. Detroit was the only Foster Trophy holder to ever reach the ArenaBowl after losing to an expansion team in the same season.

Notes: For the purposes of this article, "Expansion team" is referred to as a brand new franchise, not just a relocated team. Please see our Franchise Chart for further reference. The 2005 Nashville Kats were considered an expansion team even though the franchise records from the 1997-2001 Kats were carried through. The Jacksonville Sharks were also the only true expansion team in the AFL in 2010 since the rest of the franchises were either old AFL franchises from 2008 or teams which came from the af2. Regardless, since the AFL was not played in 2009 and the defending champion Philadelphia Soul didn't begin play again until 2011, there was no opportunity in 2010 for any team to beat the defending champions.

Adam Markowitz is an accountant and a freelance sports writer living in Orlando. As a Florida State graduate with degrees in music and history, the garnet and gold will forever be a part of him, but he bleeds the black and red of the Orlando Predators like none other. Adam has been following the AFL since 1991 and has been at well over 200 games, including 16 ArenaBowls. You can follow Adam on Twitter @AFLGuru.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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