In sports, there are sometimes slumps the season after a team wins a championship. That was not the case for the 2017 Philadelphia Soul, who return to the ArenaBowl after taking home last year’s trophy. A centerpiece of both sensational campaigns has been quarterback Dan Raudabaugh.
Raudabaugh has been with the Soul since 2012. He is one of five quarterbacks in Arena Football League history to tally 30,000 yards with one franchise. Over that time, he’s won the AFL MVP in 2015, led the league in passing twice, and of course, won his first ArenaBowl last season. Raudabaugh’s also in the AFL’s top ten for career passing touchdowns, yards, and completions. Did he ever envision this much success professionally while playing college football in the MAC at Miami University? He reflects, “It’s been a tremendous ride with tons of ups and downs along the way, and you never know what’s in front of you. I’ve been fortunate to be in the system I am with Coach Dolezel and the players I’ve got to play with. I wouldn’t change it for the world! I’ve always been a confident player, and as a quarterback, you have to be.”
He said the team’s success starts with the coaching and gives Coach Clint Dolezel and his staff a ton of credit for getting the team back to the promised land. “Coach Dolezel is arguably the greatest AFL player of all time and on his way to being the greatest AFL coach of all time. He calls the offense, defense, and plans out the special teams as well,” Raudabaugh gushes about his head coach. “His understanding of what it takes as a player and coach helps us prepare every week. Plus, we have developed such a family culture here. We truly care about everyone on the team deeply and it only makes us so much stronger.” He adds, “I had the opportunity to play with Coach (Phil) Bogle in Dallas in 2010, so we have a great relationship together, too. Being a former All-Arena player, he knows the effort and sacrifice it takes to be the best.” Raudabaugh’s praise continues to assistant coach Bernie Nowotarski,“Coach Bernie does a tremendous job getting the defense and special teams ready for anything we could possibly see on game day. He’s been in so many successful organizations that he brings a decorated pedigree to our team to only strengthen our team’s forces.”
After helping guide the Soul to a 13-1 regular season and a playoff win over the Baltimore Brigade, Raudabaugh is thrilled to be back in this position. “It’s beyond exciting. We’ve put ourselves in the position to accomplish the goal we set as a team at the beginning of the season,” he explains. “The whole journey has been amazing and we’re excited to play in front of our home crowd.” The Wells Fargo Center will be buzzing this Saturday when the Soul host the Tampa Bay Storm in ArenaBowl XXX. Raudabaugh says the home field advantage will be huge and “our fans love us and we love our fans. I wanted to get an ArenaBowl at home for a long time now and I’m glad we can this week. I know they’ll be fired up and rocking!”