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Off the Net: ArenaBowl XXX

August 28, 2017
Soul Claim Third Championship – The City of Brotherly Love has yet another championship. The Philadelphia Soul are the holders of the Foster Trophy for a second consecutive season. Their 44-40 win over the Tampa Bay Storm gives the Soul three ArenaBowl victories which seats them fifth all-time. There's still a long way to go to get to catch the Storm and the Arizona Rattlers, both of whom have five Foster Trophies to their name. Yet Philadelphia has become just the fourth team in AFL history to win the ArenaBowl in consecutive seasons, and it will have a shot to capture the third three-peat ever in 2018.

Most ArenaBowl Victories in AFL History
Arizona Rattlers: 5
Tampa Bay Storm/Pittsburgh Gladiators: 5
Detroit Drive: 4
San Jose SaberCats: 4
Philadelphia Soul: 3

Back-to-Back ArenaBowl Champions
Philadelphia Soul: 2016-17
Arizona Rattlers: 2012-14
Tampa Bay Storm: 1995-96
Detroit Drive: 1988-90

The Ultimate Comeback – History was made at ArenaBowl XXX when the Soul erased a 20-7 deficit to come back and win the game. It was the first time any team in ArenaBowl history came back from down by more than one score to win. Philadelphia used a 37-14 run to turn that 20-7 deficit into a 44-34 edge before the Storm scored with zeroes on the clock to cut the final score to 44-40.

When a Prince Becomes King – Darius Prince has played exactly 120 minutes in his AFL career. Now, he's a playoff hero for the Soul. Prince had five receptions for 27 yards and two touchdowns to go along with three massive tackles on special teams to earn ArenaBowl XXX MVP honors. Prince is just the sixth rookie in AFL history to win the ArenaBowl MVP and was the first to do so without having played a single game in the regular season for his team.

Rookie ArenaBowl MVPs in AFL History
Darius Prince (Philadelphia): ArenaBowl XXX
Rick Hamilton (Orlando): ArenaBowl XII
Donnie Davis (Arizona): ArenaBowl XI
Stevie Thomas (Tampa Bay): ArenaBowl V
Art Schlichter (Detroit): ArenaBowl IV
Gary Mullen (Denver): ArenaBowl I

Big Game Romain – The stats didn't tell the whole story about James Romain in ArenaBowl XXX. He intercepted Randy Hippeard in the first quarter, making him the sixth man in AFL history to pick off three passes for a career in the championship game. It was really what Romain did against Joe Hills that made the greatest impact and earned him Defensive Player of the Game honors. Romain shut down the AFL’s Wide Receiver of the Year, holding Hills to just five receptions, 71 yards and a touchdown. It was the first time in Hills' career in which he didn't score at least two touchdowns in his eight career postseason games.

Boom, Boom, Pow – Mykel Benson is going to remember the 2017 season for being something truly special. He moved up the ladders on all of the important rushing stats in league history. He capped it off with a huge performance in ArenaBowl XXX, rushing for 17 yards and two touchdowns to earn Offensive Player of the Game honors. Benson's 15 carries is the most in ArenaBowl history, surpassing the 12 by Lynn Bradford for Detroit in ArenaBowl III. Benson is the first man to have two, two-touchdown performances on the ground in ArenaBowl history, and his four career rushing touchdowns ties him with Barry Wagner and Art Schlichter for the most ever in ArenaBowl history.

Most Rushing Attempts in a Single ArenaBowl
Mykel Benson (Philadelphia): 15 (ArenaBowl XXX)
Lynn Bradford (Detroit): 12 (ArenaBowl III)
Tony Burse (Detroit): 8 (ArenaBowl VII)
Derrick Ross (Jacksonville): 7 (ArenaBowl XXVIII)
Kirby Griffin (Jacksonville): 7 (ArenaBowl XXIV)
Brian Johnson (San Jose): 7 (ArenaBowl XXI)

Most Career Rushing Touchdowns in ArenaBowl History
Mykel Benson: 4
Art Schlichter: 4
Barry Wagner: 4

Most Career Rushing Attempts in ArenaBowl History
Lynn Bradford: 22
Mykel Benson: 20
Rick Hamilton: 17
Derrick Ross: 15
Alvin Rettig: 14
Barry Wagner: 14

Ings-Credible – Missed field goal returns in the AFL have more or less gone the way of the dodo bird. There was only one missed field goal that was returned out of the end zone this entire season, and there had only been one missed field goal return for a touchdown in ArenaBowl history – until ArenaBowl XXX. Kendrick Ings took an Adrian Trevino miss 57 yards for the ArenaBowl's opening score, tying it for the longest play in ArenaBowl history. The Storm have not had a missed field goal return for a touchdown in any game since 2008. The only other man to return a missed field goal for a touchdown? The great Barry Wagner in ArenaBowl XII. There has been a total of eight kick returns for touchdowns of any kind in ArenaBowl history, the most recent of which was courtesy of Trestin George in ArenaBowl XXI.

Rocking Raudabaugh – Statistically Dan Raudabaugh didn't have his best ArenaBowl. He threw for 232 yards and four touchdowns against one interception. That said, he was hobbled virtually all game long and shook off a poor first half to ultimately guide Philadelphia to its second straight championship. Raudabaugh now joins Nick Davila and Jay Gruden as the only starting quarterbacks who have ever won back-to-back ArenaBowls. In the process, Raudabaugh also moved into second place all-time in all of the major ArenaBowl career stats.

Starting Quarterbacks To Win Back-To-Back ArenaBowls
Dan Raudabaugh (Philadelphia): 2016-17
Nick Davila (Arizona): 2012-14
Jay Gruden (Tampa Bay): 1995-96

Most Career Pass Completions in ArenaBowl History
Nick Davila: 110
Dan Raudabaugh: 97
Sherdrick Bonner: 81
Mark Grieb: 78
Jay Gruden: 74

Most Career Passing Yards in ArenaBowl History
Nick Davila: 1,437
Dan Raudabaugh: 1,101
Jay Gruden: 975
Sherdrick Bonner: 968
Mark Grieb: 845

Most Career Passing Touchdowns in ArenaBowl History
Nick Davila: 35
Dan Raudabaugh: 21|
Mark Grieb: 20
Jay Gruden: 17
Sherdrick Bonner: 14

Dolezel in Rare Coaching Club – The ArenaBowl has now produced three men who have led their teams to back-to-back championships. Tim Marcum did it both with the Drive (ArenaBowl II & ArenaBowl III) and the Storm (ArenaBowl IX & ArenaBowl X), while Kevin Guy did it for the Arizona Rattlers in three straight title games (ArenaBowl XXV, ArenaBowl XXVI & ArenaBowl XXVII). Now, Clint Dolezel can add his name to that list after winning ArenaBowl XXIX and ArenaBowl XXX for the Soul. There are only seven coaches in ArenaBowl history who have won two championships and Dolezel can now proudly say that he is one of the seven with one ring for each hand. Dolezel also became the second former player in AFL history to win an ArenaBowl against a man who used to coach him. By beating his former coach, Ron James, Dolezel joins Jay Gruden (vs. Tim Marcum in ArenaBowl XII) as the only men in ArenaBowl history to beat their former mentors.

Most Career ArenaBowl Victories
Tim Marcum: 7
Darren Arbet: 4
Kevin Guy: 3
Danny White: 2
Mike Dailey: 2
Clint Dolezel: 2
Jay Gruden: 2

Philadelphia Freedom – The 15-1 Soul will largely be remembered as one of the greatest teams in AFL history. Clint Dolezel's side posted the third-best season by winning percentage the AFL has ever known, trailing only a pair of San Jose SaberCats teams from 2002 (18-1) and 2015 (20-1). It was the fourth season in AFL history in which a team was beaten just one time.

Best Overall Winning Percentage in AFL History
2015 San Jose SaberCats: .952 (20-1)
2002 San Jose SaberCats: .941 (18-1)
2017 Philadelphia Soul: .938 (16-1)

Doing It With Defense – The Soul defense deserves all the credit in the world for the way that it stymied the Tampa Bay offense in ArenaBowl XXX. Philadelphia only conceded 27 offensive points, the last six of which came on a meaningless play with no time left on the clock. The last team to hold an ArenaBowl opponent to just four offensive touchdowns was Tampa Bay in ArenaBowl XVII. The Storm only had seven first downs in ArenaBowl XXX. To put this in comparison, there hasn't been an ArenaBowl in which a team had fewer than 17 first downs since ArenaBowl XVII, and the last time a defense held a team in single-digits in first downs was in 1989. The Pittsburgh Gladiators had just eight first downs in ArenaBowl III against the Drive, a record that no longer stands as the fewest in ArenaBowl history. The 194 total yards allowed was the fourth-fewest in ArenaBowl history.

Fewest First Downs Allowed in ArenaBowl History
Philadelphia Soul: 7 (ArenaBowl XXX)
Detroit Drive: 8 (ArenaBowl III)
Chicago Bruisers: 9 (ArenaBowl II)
Detroit Drive: 11 (ArenaBowl II)

  Fewest Yards Allowed in ArenaBowl History
Detroit Drive: 109 (ArenaBowl II)
Detroit Drive: 139 (ArenaBowl III)
Tampa Bay Storm: 193 (ArenaBowl XVII)
Philadelphia Soul: 194 (ArenaBowl XXX)

ArenaBowl XXX Odds and Ends
-Alvin Ray Jackson's interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter marked the ninth pick-six in ArenaBowl history and the first since Trestin George for San Jose in ArenaBowl XXI versus the Columbus Destroyers.

-Soul backup QB Luke Collis briefly replaced Raudabaugh for the Soul in the second quarter. It was the first time Collis appeared in a postseason game in his career.

-Sean Daniels' safety marked the seventh in ArenaBowl history, the most recent of which came in ArenaBowl XXVII. It was the first safety logged in the fourth quarter of an ArenaBowl.

-The Storm became the first team since Orlando in ArenaBowl XII to score two non-offensive touchdowns in the same ArenaBowl. Philadelphia became the first team in ArenaBowl history to concede two non-offensive touchdowns and still win the championship.

-The Soul possessed the ball for 37:41 after averaging a time of possession of just 27:21 per game during the 2017 regular season.

-Darius Reynolds, Mykel Benson and Joe Hills each continued their streaks of having scored at least one touchdown in every-one of their career playoff games.

-Dan Raudabaugh (4,026) reached the 4,000-yard plateau in his postseason career.

ArenaBowl XXX Accolades
Top Passing Performances
Dan Raudabaugh (Philadelphia) – 20/34, 232 Yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT
Randy Hippeard (Tampa Bay) – 14/27, 194 Yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs

Top Receiving Performances
Darius Reynolds (Philadelphia) – 6 Receptions, 122 Yards, 1 TD
Shaun Kauleinamoku (Philadelphia) – 8 Receptions, 81 Yards, 1 TD
Joe Hills (Tampa Bay) – 5 Receptions, 71 Yards, 1 TD
Kendrick Ings (Tampa Bay) – 5 Receptions, 57 Yards, 2 TDs
Justin Hilton (Tampa Bay) – 1 Reception, 42 Yards, 1 TD

Top Rushing Performances
Mykel Benson (Philadelphia) – 15 Carries, 17 Yards, 2 TDs
Dan Raudabaugh (Philadelphia) – 1 Carry, 12 Yards
Randy Hippeard (Tampa Bay) – 1 Carry, 4 Yards

Top Defensive Performances
Alvin Ray Jackson (Tampa Bay) – 4.5 Tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD
Sean Daniels (Philadelphia) – 1 Tackle, 1 Sack, 1 Safety
Al Phillips (Tampa Bay) – 8 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble
Dwayne Hollis (Philadelphia) – 4.5 Tackles, 1 INT
James Romain (Philadelphia) – 1 Tackle, 1 INT