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Off the Net: Return to the Regular Season, Team Edition

August 8, 2017 (Photo Credit: Baltimore Brigade)
Yes, They Call it the Streak  – The final chapter of the 2017 Philadelphia Soul will ultimately be written in the postseason, but the team that Clint Dolezel has put on the field in each of the last two seasons has been remarkable. The Soul, of course, won ArenaBowl XXIX in Glendale, and they went 386 days between defeats. Philadelphia won 14 straight regular season games and 17 consecutive contests overall. Though both streaks fell just shy of all-time records, no one in the City of Brotherly Love will mind if the end result is a second straight Foster Trophy. For now, the Soul will have to settle with a 13-1 record, tied for the fourth best winning percentage in a season and the best record by winning percentage by a defending ArenaBowl champion in AFL history. It was also the 21st time in AFL history that a team finished a regular season with a spotless home record and the second time in Soul history.

Most Consecutive Wins to Start a Season in AFL History
2014 Arizona Rattlers: 14

2002 San Jose SaberCats: 12

2015 San Jose SaberCats: 11

1994 Orlando Predators: 11

2017 Philadelphia Soul: 10
1988 Chicago Bruisers: 10

Most Consecutive Wins (Including Playoffs) in AFL History
2013-14 Arizona Rattlers: 18

2016-17 Philadelphia Soul: 17
1995-96 Tampa Bay Storm: 17

1992-93 Detroit Drive: 16

Most Consecutive Regular Season Wins in AFL History
2000-01 San Jose SaberCats: 15

2007-08 Dallas Desperados: 15

2013-14 Arizona Rattlers: 15

2016-17 Philadelphia Soul: 14
1995-96 Tampa Bay Storm: 14

1992-93 Detroit Drive: 13

2001-02 San Jose SaberCats: 13

2011 Jacksonville Sharks: 13

Most Consecutive Regular Season Road Wins
2014-15 San Jose SaberCats: 10

1988-90 Detroit Drive: 9

1999-00 Nashville Kats: 9

2016-17 Philadelphia Soul: 8
1995-96 Tampa Bay Storm: 8

2002-03 Orlando Predators: 8

Best Winning Percentage in AFL History
2015 San Jose SaberCats: .944 (17-1)

2014 Cleveland Gladiators: .944 (17-1)

2007 Dallas Desperados: .937 (15-1)

*2017 Philadelphia Soul: .929 (13-1)
2002 San Jose SaberCats: .929 (13-1)

1994 Orlando Predators: .916 (11-1)

*1993 Detroit Drive: .916 (11-1)
*Denotes Defending ArenaBowl Champion

Scoring on a Quarterly Basis  – As a part of this epic winning streak, the Soul went 155 consecutive quarters scoring at least one touchdown. The record for consecutive quarters with at least a score of some sort is the longest in the history of the AFL, a streak which spanned all the way back to the final game of the 2014 season. There have only been a total of 14 seasons in AFL history in which teams completed seasons without leaving a single zero on the board, and the Soul managed to login them in consecutive years in 2015 and 2016.

Most Consecutive Quarters with a Score in AFL History
2014-2017 Philadelphia Soul: 155 quarters

2001-2003 San Jose SaberCats: 135 quarters

2010-2012 Jacksonville Sharks: 134 quarters

2006-2008 Georgia Force: 106 quarters

2011-2012 Milwaukee Mustangs: 103 quarters

2010-2011 Spokane Shock: 102 quarters

Turning 'Em Over  – Though Philadelphia's offensive streak has come to a close, its streak of consecutive games forcing a turnover is still intact. The Soul easily led the AFL in forced turnovers (36) and turnover margin (+19), and they now have forced a turnover in 28 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the AFL. The Soul defense allowed 42.1 points per game this season, the fewest by a team since the 2005 San Jose SaberCats surrendered a measly 36.8 points per game. The 42.1 points per game allowed was easily the best mark in team history.

Happy 200th, Philly!  – Reaching 200 regular season games played in a league like the AFL isn't something that you see all the time. In fact, there have been a total of just seven organizations who have ever reached that milestone. Just five teams have played 200 games in the same city. The Soul were the latest to add their name to both lists this year, playing in their 200th regular season game in Week 18.

Most Organization Regular Season Games Played in AFL History
Tampa Bay Storm/Pittsburgh Gladiators: 415

Orlando Predators: 372

Arizona Rattlers: 362

New Jersey Red Dogs/New Jersey, Las Vegas, Cleveland Gladiators: 316

San Jose SaberCats: 296

Iowa Barnstormers/New York Dragons: 206

Philadelphia Soul: 200

Most Organization Regular Season Wins in AFL History
Arizona Rattlers: 244

Tampa Bay Storm/Pittsburgh Gladiators: 241

Orlando Predators: 225

San Jose SaberCats: 198

New Jersey Red Dogs/New Jersey, Las Vegas, Cleveland Gladiators: 144

Philadelphia Soul: 124

Storm Slam Competition at Amalie  – Amalie Arena was a little house of horrors for the opposition this season. The Tampa Bay Storm finished with a 6-1 record at home, tied for the second winning percentage they've had at home in their storied history in a single season. Ron James' outfit closed out the season with six straight wins after challenging Philadelphia in Week 2 and coming up just shy. Now, the Storm will open their doors to their first home playoff game since 2010.

Tampa Bay Storm Best Home Record in Team History (By Winning Percentage)
2005: 8-0

2017: 6-1
1998: 6-1

1996: 6-1

1995: 5-1

1994: 5-1

1993: 5-1

Brigade Bust ArenaBowl Champs  – Remember that winning streak we talked all about? You can thank the Baltimore Brigade for ending it. It was the crowning moment for sure in the expansion season for the Brigade, and it put them in rare air as well. Baltimore became the first expansion team since the Las Vegas Outlaws in 2015 and the 12th in AFL history to beat a defending ArenaBowl champion.

Expansion Teams To Beat Defending ArenaBowl Champion
2017 Baltimore Brigade (49-42 vs. Philadelphia)
2015 Las Vegas Outlaws (70-53 vs. Arizona)

2011 Pittsburgh Power (51-41 vs. Spokane)

2006 Utah Blaze (52-40 at Colorado)

2004 New Orleans VooDoo (55-43 vs. Tampa Bay)

2004 Austin Wranglers (56-48 vs. Tampa Bay)

2001 Chicago Rush (55-41 vs. Orlando)

1997 New Jersey Red Dogs (44-28 at Tampa Bay)

1995 Iowa Barnstormers (62-54 at Arizona)

1995 St. Louis Stampede (56-46 at Arizona)

1994 Las Vegas Sting (63-58 vs. Tampa Bay)

1990 Dallas Texans (33-29 vs. Detroit)

Valor Kick Off at 1-0, Spark Rivalry with Baltimore  – The Washington Valor won the very first game of the 2017 season over Baltimore, and in doing so, they kicked off their team history on the right foot. Of the 59 organizations in AFL history, just 24 (the last of which was the LA KISS in 2014) started at 1-0. This was the 11th time in AFL history that two expansion teams kicked off against each other, the last of which came in 2010 when there were nine fresh teams into the AFL. Furthermore, the proximity of these two teams came into play quickly. The two newest AFL organizations are separated by just 37.4 miles. Both Baltimore and Washington played at home in Week 8 and Week 17. The only time there were two games played closer to one another in AFL history came when the New Jersey Red Dogs beat the Florida Bobcats and the New York CityHawks were beaten by the Grand Rapids Rampage on June 19, 1998. Madison Square Garden and the old Continental Airlines Arena were separated by just 8.7 miles.

Scoring Down, Competition Up Across AFL  – It was hard to imagine a season in the AFL where scoring would be under 100 points per game again. Back in the 1990s, games which featured 100+ points were relatively rare, yet starting in 2005, every single season featured over 100 points on average. For the first time since '05, the average game this season didn't feature at least 100 points. The AFL came just shy of that mark, finishing at 97.6 points per game. That's the best defensive showing by AFL teams since 1999.

Games, though, were closer than they have been in years. The average margin of victory was just 12.9 points per game, the lowest mark in the AFL since 2005 and the sixth closest in AFL history. Yet, this year also gave us the closest week in AFL history (Week 8, Average MOV: 2.0 PPG) and the most lopsided week in AFL history (Week 17, Average MOV: 41.5 PPG).

Closest Average Margin of Victory in a Season in AFL History
2002: 11.7 Points Per Game

2005: 12.1 Points Per Game

1999: 12.6 Points Per Game

2003: 12.8 Points Per Game

2004: 12.9 Points Per Game

2017: 12.9 Points Per Game
2008: 13.2 Points Per Game

AFL Regular Season Accolades
Top Passing Performances
Tampa Bay Storm: 66.8% Completions, 3,346 Yards, 80 TDs, 8 INTs
Cleveland Gladiators: 63.7% Completions, 3,529 Yards, 70 TDs, 15 INTs

Baltimore Brigade: 62.9% Completions, 3,420 Yards, 69 TDs, 18 INTs

Philadelphia Soul: 65.0% Completions, 3,066 Yards, 82 TDs, 10 INTs
Washington Valor: 60.8% Completions, 3,106 Yards, 62 TDs, 16 INTs

Top Rushing Performances
Cleveland Gladiators: 132 Carries, 413 Yards, 26 TDs

Washington Valor: 74 Carries, 360 Yards, 16 TDs

Philadelphia Soul: 112 Carries, 287 Yards, 24 TDs

Tampa Bay Storm: 72 Carries, 232 Yards, 9 TDs

Baltimore Brigade: 82 Carries, 167 Yards, 14 TDs

Top Offensive Performances
Philadelphia Soul: 58.4 PPG,
 7.2 Yards Per Play
Tampa Bay Storm: 50.7 PPG,
 6.4 Yards Per Play
Cleveland Gladiators: 49.7 PPG, 6.7 Yards Per Play

Baltimore Brigade: 44.3 PPG, 6.3 Yards Per Play

Washington Valor: 40.4 PPG, 6.2 Yards Per Play

Top Defensive Performances
Philadelphia Soul: 42.1 PPG Allowed, 31 Sacks, 36 Forced Turnovers
Tampa Bay Storm: 47.3 PPG Allowed, 15 Sacks, 25 Forced Turnovers
Washington Valor: 49.4 PPG Allowed, 16 Sacks, 16 Forced Turnovers

Cleveland Gladiators: 51.1 PPG Allowed, 22 Sacks, 28 Forced Turnovers

Baltimore Brigade: 53.5 PPG Allowed, 22 Sacks, 20 Forced Turnovers