|Date||September 2, 1994|
|Arena||Amway Arena, Orlando, Florida|
Sherdrick Bonner, QB, Arizona
|Winning coach||Danny White|
|Losing coach||Perry Moss|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Tom Mees, Rick 'Doc' Walker|
ArenaBowl VIII was the Arena Football League's eighth ArenaBowl. The game featured the #3 Arizona Rattlers (8-4) of the American Conference against the #1 Orlando Predators (11-1) of the National Conference. The Rattlers were making their first ArenaBowl appearance in their three-year history, while the Predators were in their second ArenaBowl in their four years in the league (having lost to the Detroit Drive in ArenaBowl VI).
The ArenaBowl is the Arena Football League's championship game. From 1987 to 2004, the ArenaBowl was hosted by either the team with the better regular-season record or the higher seeding in the playoffs. From ArenaBowl XIX in 2005 until ArenaBowl XXII in 2008, the game was played at a neutral site. When the AFL returned from a bankruptcy-induced hiatus in 2010, the original format was used for this and the next season; for 2012 and 2013, the game returned to being played at a neutral site. In 2014, it was announced that the ArenaBowl would return to the format in which the higher-seeded team would host the game. However, in 2018, the game will now be hosted at the site of the participating team with highest average attendance during the regular season.
The Arizona Rattlers are a professional indoor American football team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They are currently members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Rattlers were founded in 1992 as an expansion team in the Arena Football League and were the third oldest active franchise in the AFL until their departure in 2016. They play their home games at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Rattlers are led by head coach Kevin Guy. Since the team's establishment in 1992, the Rattlers have won ten division titles and have played in nine ArenaBowl Championship games, winning championships in 1994, 1997, 2012, 2013, 2014. The Rattlers also won the 2017 United Bowl in their first season in the IFL.
The Orlando Predators were a professional arena football team based in Orlando, Florida and member of the Arena Football League (AFL). The team was most recently owned by Orlando Predators LLC, a company owned by David A. Siegel, and played its home games at Amway Center.
Arena Bowl VIII was the first to use a roman numeral in its name (a la the Super Bowl); all previous games used a shortened version of the year in which it was played (such as ArenaBowl '93).
The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL) where the champion of the National Football Conference (NFC) competes against the champion of the American Football Conference (AFC). The game is the culmination of a regular season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. Normally, Roman numerals are used to identify each game, rather than the year in which it is held. For example, Super Bowl I was played on January 15, 1967, following the 1966 regular season. The sole exception to this naming convention tradition occurred with Super Bowl 50, which was played on February 7, 2016, following the 2015 regular season, and the following year, the nomenclature returned to Roman numerals for Super Bowl LI, following the 2016 regular season. The upcoming Super Bowl is Super Bowl LIV, scheduled for February 2, 2020, following the 2019 regular season.
ArenaBowl '93 was the Arena Football League's seventh Arena Bowl. The game featured the number 3 Tampa Bay Storm (9–3) of the National Conference against the number 1 Detroit Drive (11–1) of the American Conference. The Storm defeated the Drive by the score of 51–31, winning their second ArenaBowl in team history, and their second one in three years.
In the first quarter, Orlando struck first with Ben Bennett completing a 5-yard TD pass to Alex Shell, while Arizona responded with Sherdrick Bonner completing a 33-yard touchdown pass to Cedric Tillman. The Predators wrapped up the first quarter with Jorge Cimadevilla making a 24-yard Field Goal.
Allen Beverly Bennett II is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears. He also was a member of the Jacksonville Bulls, Chicago Bruisers, Dallas Texans, Sacramento Surge, San Antonio Riders, Orlando Predators, San Jose SaberCats and Portland Forest Dragons. He was a football coach in the Arena Football League (AFL) and AF2. He played college football at Duke University.
Sherdrick Deon "Sed" Bonner is a former American football quarterback who played fifteen seasons in the Arena Football League (AFL).
Cedric Tillman is a former American football wide receiver who played eight seasons in the Arena Football League with the Denver Dynamite and Arizona Rattlers. He played college football at Northern Colorado University. Tillman was named Second Team All-Arena in 1994. He was a member of the Arizona Rattlers teams that won ArenaBowl VIII and ArenaBowl XI.
In the second quarter, the Rattlers took the lead with Bonner completing a 6-yard TD pass to Calvin "Shakes" Schexnayder, but the Predators retook the lead with Bennett and Shell hooking up again on a 42-yard touchdown pass. Arizona regained the lead before halftime with Luis Zendejas kicking two field goals, a 23-yarder and a 40-yarder.
Calvin "Shakes" Schexnayder is a former American football wide receiver in the Arena Football League. He played college football at Washington State.
Luis Fernando Zendejas is a former American football placekicker in the National Football League (NFL) for the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. He also was a member of the Arena Football League. He later played professionally in the United States Football League (USFL), and Canadian Football League (CFL). He played college football at Arizona State University.
In the third quarter, the Rattlers increased its lead with Bonner's 2-yard touchdown pass to Milton Vaughn; Orlando responded with Bennett's 38-yard touchdown pass to Herkie Walls.
McCurey Hercules "Herkie" Walls is a former Arena Football League wide receiver for the Orlando Predators.
In the fourth quarter, Arizona added on to its lead with Zendejas kicking a 21-yard field goal, yet the Predators retook the lead with WR-DB Barry Wagner's 4-yard touchdown run. The Rattlers regained the lead with Bonner and Schexnayder hooking up again on a 24-yard touchdown pass, but the following two-point conversion failed. In the final seconds, Bennett threw a deep ball to try to get a touchdown in order to take the lead for good, but it ended up incomplete.
Barry Wagner is a retired American football player in the Arena Football League for the Orlando Predators, with whom he won his first ArenaBowl Championship, and the San Jose SaberCats, with whom he won two championships. He also played in the World Indoor Football League as a wide receiver/defensive back with the Daytona Beach Thunder. Wagner is the all-time AFL all-purpose yardage leader. He is considered the best Arena Football player of all time. During the 2012 Arena Football League season, Wagner was named the league's greatest player of all time.
With the win, the Arizona Rattlers won their very first ArenaBowl in franchise history.
ArenaBowl XIX was the 2005 championship game of the Arena Football League (AFL), and was played at the Thomas & Mack Center in Paradise, Nevada. The first-ever neutral-site title game in AFL history drew 10,822 fans to see the Colorado Crush defeat the Georgia Force 51–48 to claim the Foster ArenaBowl Trophy. ArenaBowl XIX is widely considered one of the greatest games ever played.
ArenaBowl XVIII saw the San Jose SaberCats and Arizona Rattlers competing for the 2004 Arena Football League championship. Until 2010, this game marked the last time the ArenaBowl was held at the home arena of the higher-seeded team, rather than a neutral site, and 17,391 fans packed the sold-out America West Arena as the visiting SaberCats defeated the homestanding Rattlers, 69-62 in a rematch of ArenaBowl XVI.
ArenaBowl XVII was played on June 22, 2003 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida before a sellout crowd of 20,496. The Tampa Bay Storm earned their AFL record fifth ArenaBowl title, by defeating the Arizona Rattlers, 43-29. The win was just months after the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII, making Tampa Bay the first metropolitan area to simultaneously hold both NFL and AFL championships.
ArenaBowl XVI was played between the San Jose SaberCats and Arizona Rattlers in San Jose, California on August 18, 2002. A game with considerable expectations given the teams' intense rivalry and respective success that year, the SaberCats surprised everyone by posting the most dominant victory in ArenaBowl history, holding the Rattlers scoreless until the final period, and winning the game by the lopsided score of 52-14 to earn their first Arena Football League title in franchise history. Arizona's 14 points are the second-lowest in ArenaBowl history, just above the Chicago Bruisers' 13 points in ArenaBowl II. With the SaberCats' victory, Darren Arbet also became the first African-American head coach in pro-football to win a championship in North America.
ArenaBowl XIV is widely hailed as one of the most exciting games in ArenaBowl history, ranking alongside classics such as ArenaBowl XVIII and ArenaBowl XIX. Featuring two teams from the Arena Football League's Southern Division, the game went as a Southern Division game might be expected to: a low-scoring, largely defensive struggle. In the end, however, Orlando Predator kicker David Cool converted a 19-yard field goal as time expired to give the Predators a 41-38 victory over the Nashville Kats and their second ArenaBowl title in three years.
ArenaBowl XX, held on Sunday, June 11, 2006, was played to determine the championship of the 2006 season of the Arena Football League (AFL). For the second consecutive year, the game was played at the neutral site of the Thomas & Mack Center in Paradise, Nevada. It pitted the National Conference Champions, the Orlando Predators, against the American Conference Champions, the Chicago Rush. The Chicago Rush won 69-61. This game was televised on AFL on NBC, and was the final game played under the AFL's contract with NBC.
Arena Bowl XIII was the 1999 edition of the Arena Football League's championship game. The game was played on August 21, 1999, at the Firebirds' home arena, the Times Union Center. The title game featured the #8 Orlando Predators and the #3 Albany Firebirds. The Predators were coming off their first Arena Bowl title, while the game was the Firebirds' first appearance in 10 seasons.
Arena Bowl '88 was the Arena Football League's second-ever championship game. The game featured the number 2 Detroit Drive (9–3) against the number 1 Chicago Bruisers (10–1–1). With 37 combined points it is the lowest-scoring ArenaBowl in history. Chicago's 13 points are the fewest points by a single team in Arenabowl history.
Arena Bowl '89 was the Arena Football League's third Arena Bowl. The game featured the #2 Pittsburgh Gladiators against the #1 Detroit Drive. Both teams finished their seasons at 3-1, yet the Drive greatly led in points against (84-147).
Arena Bowl '90 was the Arena Football League's fourth Arena Bowl. The game featured the #2 Dallas Texans against the #1 Detroit Drive. Both teams finished their seasons at 6-2, yet the Drive led in points for (326-299) and points against (215-308).
ArenaBowl IX was the Arena Football League's ninth ArenaBowl. The game featured the #6 Orlando Predators (7-5) of the National Conference against the #1 Tampa Bay Storm (10-2), also of the National Conference. This would be the very first ArenaBowl to have the "War on I-4" rivalry featured in it. For the Predators, this was their third ArenaBowl appearance in their first five years of existence. For the Storm, this was their fourth overall appearance with a chance to get three titles in five years.
ArenaBowl X was the Arena Football League's tenth ArenaBowl. The game featured the #2 Tampa Bay Storm of the National Conference against the #1 Iowa Barnstormers of the American Conference. Both teams ended their regular seasons at 12-2, yet Iowa had a better conference record. For the Storm, they were hoping to get their fourth championship title in six overall appearances, while the Barnstormers were trying to win their very first league championship game.
ArenaBowl XI was the Arena Football League's eleventh ArenaBowl. The game featured two American Conference teams, the #2 Iowa Barnstormers (11-3) against the #1 Arizona Rattlers (12-2). Iowa was coming from losing ArenaBowl X to the Tampa Bay Storm and were still looking for their first championship title, while Arizona was making its second appearance after winning ArenaBowl VIII against the Orlando Predators three seasons ago. Now, they were trying to acquire their second league title.
Arena Bowl XII was the Arena Football League's twelfth Arena Bowl, which took place August 23, 1998. It pitted the #4 Orlando Predators (9-5) of the National Conference against the #1 Tampa Bay Storm (12-2), also of the National Conference. This was the second and final ArenaBowl to have the "War on I-4" rivalry on the big stage. For the Predators, it was their fourth ArenaBowl appearance in their eight years of existence. This year, they were under the command of first-year head coach Jay Gruden. For the Storm, this was their eighth overall appearance as they were going for their fifth ArenaBowl title in eight seasons. Not only did they face their arch-rivals from Orlando, but they also had face their former star player in Jay Gruden.
The 1983 Fiesta Bowl, played on January 1, 1983, was the 12th edition of the Fiesta Bowl. The game featured the Arizona State Sun Devils, and the Oklahoma Sooners.
ArenaBowl XXIV was the 24th edition of the championship in the Arena Football League (AFL). The American Conference champion, Jacksonville Sharks, defeated the National Conference champion, Arizona Rattlers, 73–70. It was played on August 12, 2011. The game was hosted at the site of the highest remaining seed throughout the playoffs, which was US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the Rattlers.