Chasing History: The San Jose SaberCats Pursuit of Perfection
The San Jose SaberCats are still a long ways away from becoming the first team in Arena Football League history to run the table and get through an entire season unscathed. However, their place in history has already been cemented in some ways for their insane start to the season. Check out our weekly look at where the SaberCats rank in AFL history.
Week 1: San Jose 59 - Las Vegas 41 Week 2: San Jose 54 - Los Angeles 28 Week 3: San Jose 36 - Tampa Bay 27 Week 4: San Jose 68 - Jacksonville 48 Week 5 San Jose 64 - Portland 45 Week 6: San Jose 56 - Arizona 34 Week 7: San Jose 61 - Las Vegas 28 Week 8: San Jose 83 - Spokane 28
The magic for San Jose really started this week when it beat the Spokane Shock down by 55 points, tied for the sixth largest victory in AFL history. It marked a fifth straight win by at least 19 points, something that few have ever duplicated in the history of professional football, and there isn't a game this season in which the team hasn't led at some point by at least 20 points.
Even more impressive for San Jose is the fact that it has only trailed by for a grand total of 6:39 for the entire season, and that was all in one shot. The Jacksonville Sharks were up 7-0 on the SaberCats in the first quarter in Week 4. At 4:34 of the first quarter of that game, one second before Adron Tennell scored a touchdown to make the score 7-7, was the last time the SaberCats trailed in a game. That's right. The team hasn't trailed yet in a home game this season, and it has gone 289:33 consecutively without trailing.
To put that in its proper perspective, the Los Angeles KISS, who are off to one of the worst starts in AFL history, have led by more than 6:39 in four individual games this season.
There are eight teams in AFL history who have started off at 8-0 in the AFL. Each of the prior seven teams who started 8-0 went on to play in the ArenaBowl that season. Six of the seven teams either hosted the ArenaBowl or would have hosted the ArenaBowl had the game not been played at a neutral site. The only exception was last season's Arizona Rattlers, who in most other years, would have hosted the ArenaBowl, but didn't thanks to the fact that the Cleveland Gladiators also started 8-0 and ended the regular season at 17-1.
The worst ending record for any team in AFL history to start at 8-0 is 13-3, so there's a good chance that San Jose will host the ArenaBowl this year as well should it get that far.
However, San Jose isn't your average 8-0 team. There have obviously been others who have gotten off to this tremendous start, but none have done it as emphatically as the SaberCats have.
Average Margin of Victory for 8-0 Teams
2015 San Jose: 25.2 PPG 1994 Orlando: 22.9 PPG 1996 Tampa Bay: 20.0 PPG 2002 San Jose: 18.8 PPG 1988 Chicago: 16.3 PPG 2008 Philadelphia: 16.0 PPG 2014 Arizona: 13.6 PPG 2014 Cleveland: 10.8 PPG
Don't just think that this is an isolated eight-game run, though. The SaberCats have put together one of the best eight-game stretches in AFL history in terms of points per game. In fact, there are only six examples in AFL history of teams who have won eight consecutive games by an average of more than 25 points per game.
Best 8-Game Streaks in AFL History by Points Per Game
2013 Arizona (Games 5-12): 27.0 PPG 2014 Arizona (Games 7-14): 25.9 PPG 1992 Orlando (Games 3-10): 25.6 PPG 1994 Orlando (Games 2-9): 25.4 PPG 1992 Detroit (Games 5-Semifinals): 25.3 PPG 2015 San Jose (Games 1-8): 25.2 PPG
Not surprisingly, the SaberCats are first in the league this year in points scored and first in points against. Our Brian Beaudry showed just how dominant the Cats have been, as they rank first in the league in drive scoring percentage and first in drive scoring percentage allowed, both of which are by a country mile.
And oh by the way, they're doing this of late without Erik Meyer, who hasn't played since May 2nd and Virgil Gray, who hasn't played since April 10th.
In case you are wondering, this week, the SaberCats play against Cleveland at home. If they win this game, they will become the sixth team in league history to start at 9-0, and they will easily be the most dominant team through nine games in terms of points per game. However, if they win this game by 36 points or more, they will have the best nine-game streak in terms of points per game in AFL history.
Best 9-Game Streaks in AFL History by Points Per Game
1992 Orlando (Games 3-Quarterfinals): 26.3 PPG 2013 Arizona (Games 5-13): 25.9 PPG 2012 Philadelphia (Games 12-Semifinals): 25.4 PPG 1992 Detroit (Games 5-ArenaBowl): 24.4 PPG 2014 Arizona (Games 6-14): 24.1 PPG 1994 Orlando (Games 2-10): 23.6 PPG 1992 Orlando (Games 2-10): 23.3 PPG