Rattlers Repeat as ArenaBowl Champs
ORLANDO -- On Saturday, the Arizona Rattlers became the first team since the Tampa Bay Storm in ArenaBowls IX and X to win back to back Arena Football League championships as they defeated the Philadelphia Soul 48 - 39 in ArenaBowl XXVI in Orlando.
The total of 87 combined points was the lowest total in AFL history since ArenaBowl XVII.
Last season, the Rattlers defeated the Soul 72 – 54 in ArenaBowl XXV in New Orleans.
Saturday’s game was the first time in league history that the same two teams met in the championship game in back to back seasons.
It was also the third time this season that the Rattlers defeated the Soul. It is only the second time in league history that a team has defeated another three times in a season with the third victory coming in the ArenaBowl.
“The players got it done,” said Rattlers head coach Kevin Guy. “We hung in there and we just came to play tonight. This is the best team that I have ever coached.”
The Rattlers are just the third franchise in league history to win back to back titles (Tampa Bay and Detroit).
“It means a lot (to win back to back titles),” Guy stated. “We did it as an organization. It is really difficult to win one championship. To do it back to back is something special.”
With the victory, Guy becomes the sixth head coach to win multiple league championships and just the second to win back to back titles (Tim Marcum led both the Detroit and Tampa Bay franchises).
Offensive Player of the Game and MVP was Arizona wide receiver Rod Windsor. Windsor finished the game with 10 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila finished the game completing 20 of his 29 pass attempts for 315 yards and six touchdowns.
With his six touchdowns, Davila now has 23 ArenaBowl TD passes in 3 career championship games. He surpasses Mark Grieb, who previously held the record at 20.
He also becomes third in most passing yards (919) in ArenaBowl history behind Jay Gruden (970) and Sherdrick Bonner (970).
The Defensive Player of the Game was Rattler defensive back Virgil Gray. Gray had 9.5 tackles in the game along with a key interception in the first quarter that halted an early Soul drive.
Wide receiver Maurice Purify finished the game with four catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns. His two touchdowns give him nine in ArenaBowls for his career, which puts him in third place all time behind George LaFrance and Stevie Thomas.