|Date||August 25, 1997|
|Arena||US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona|
Donnie Davis, QB, Arizona
|Winning coach||Danny White|
|Losing coach||John Gregory|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Mike Adamle, Mike Golic, Adrian Karsten|
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.
The New York Dragons were a professional arena football team based in the New York metropolitan area. The Dragons participated Arena Football League's (AFL) National Conference as a member of the Eastern Division. The team was founded in 1995 as the original iteration of the Iowa Barnstormers, and relocated to New York in 2001. They played in New York until 2008, when the league folded. They played in the Eastern Division of the National Conference, and played their home games at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Their last coach was Weylan Harding.
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.
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.
In the first quarter, the Rattlers slithered first with Kicker Anthony Brenner getting a 19-yard Field Goal, yet the Barnstormers responded with Quarterback Kurt Warner completing a 30-yard touchdown pass to OS Lamont Cooper.
Kurtis Eugene Warner is a former American football quarterback. He played for three National Football League (NFL) teams: the St. Louis Rams, the New York Giants, and the Arizona Cardinals. He was originally signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent in 1994 after playing college football at Northern Iowa. Warner went on to be considered the best undrafted NFL player of all time, following a 12-year career regarded as one of the greatest stories in NFL history. Warner was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017, and is the only person inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Arena Football Hall of Fame.
In the second quarter, Arizona lead off the period with FB/LB Bob McMillen getting a one-yard touchdown run, while Iowa kicker Mike Black nailed a 25-yard field goal. The Rattlers would begin to take command with QB Donnie Davis (who was filling in for an injured Sherdrick Bonner) completing a 4-yard touchdown pass to WR/LB Hunkie Cooper, while the Barnstormers' only response was Black kicking a 20-yard field goal. Immediately afterwards, the Rattlers continued striking as Hunkie Cooper would return the kickoff 56 yards for a touchdown to end the half.
Robert James McMillen, Jr. is a former arena football fullback/linebacker and head coach. He was most recently the head coach of the Los Angeles Kiss of the Arena Football League (AFL). He played his college football at Illinois-Benedictine, and was an AFL fullback/linebacker from 1995 to 2007. He has been a football coach since 2010, first serving as an assistant for the Chicago Slaughter in 2010, as an assistant with the Rush in 2011, before being named head coach of the Rush in 2011. In 2013, McMillen was elected into the Arena Football Hall of Fame.
Mike Black is a former American football placekicker who played twelve seasons in the Arena Football League with the Charlotte Rage, Iowa Barnstormers, New York CityHawks, New England Sea Wolves, Buffalo Destroyers, Tampa Bay Storm and Grand Rapids Rampage. He played college football at Boise State University. He was a four-time First Team All-Arena selection.
Donnie Davis was the starting quarterback for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in 1993 and 1995. He later played in the Arena Football League for the Arizona Rattlers, Milwaukee Mustangs, and Georgia Force.
In the third quarter, Arizona continued its domination as Davis got a one-yard Quarterback sneak run for a touchdown, while Hunkie Cooper returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown. Iowa's only response from the period was Warner completing another 30-yard touchdown pass to Lamont Cooper. Afterwards, the Rattlers wrapped up the period with Davis completing a 49-yard touchdown pass to WR/LB Calvin Schexnayder.
Calvin "Shakes" Schexnayder is a former American football wide receiver in the Arena Football League. He played college football at Washington State.
In the fourth quarter, the Barnstormers tried to fight back with WR/DB Willis Jacox getting a one-yard touchdown run, yet Arizona wrapped the game up with Davis and Schexnayder hooking up with each other again on a 28-yard touchdown pass, while Brenner would put on the finishing touches with a 44-yard field goal. All that was left of Iowa's attack was Warner completing a nine-yard touchdown pass to WR/LB Leonard Conley.
Willis Jacox is a former professional American football player.
With the win, the Rattlers got their second Arena Bowl title 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.
Arena Bowl '87 was the Arena Football League's very first Championship Game. It was played on August 1, 1987 at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the game, the #2 Denver Dynamite defeated the #1 Pittsburgh Gladiators by a score of 45–16.
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).
The 2007 Arizona Cardinals season was the 88th season for the team in the National Football League, and their 20th season in Arizona. They improved upon their 5–11 record in 2006 after finishing last place in the NFC West, by finishing 8–8, but the failure of the Cardinals to qualify for the Super Bowl marked the 23rd consecutive year in which the Super Bowl did not include the team in whose region the game was being played. Two heartbreaking losses to the San Francisco 49ers, who won only five games that season, came back to haunt them in the end, as they barely missed the playoffs by just one game. Nonetheless, Pro Football Reference argues that the 2007 Cardinals had the easiest schedule of any non-playoff team since the 1965 Eagles: they never opposed any team with a better record than 10–6 in any of their sixteen games.
The 2007 San Francisco 49ers season was the franchise's 62nd season, and 58th in the National Football League. They ended their season with a disappointing record of 5–11 in 2007, failing to improve upon their 7–9 record from 2006. The 49ers offense struggled all season long as offensive coordinator Jim Hostler was subject to much scrutiny and criticism regarding his playcalling and starting quarterback Alex Smith injured his shoulder early in the season.
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 '91 was the Arena Football League's fifth ArenaBowl. The game featured the #2 Tampa Bay Storm (8-2) against the #1 Detroit Drive (9-1). The Storm were in their first season in Tampa, Florida since moving from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and having spent their first four seasons as the Pittsburgh Gladiators, while the Drive were trying to win an unprecedented fourth-straight ArenaBowl title.
ArenaBowl '92 was the Arena Football League's sixth Arena Bowl. The game featured the #2 Detroit Drive (8–2) against the #1 Orlando Predators (9–1). Earlier in the regular season, these two teams met with the Predators winning 50-49 in the "Miracle Minute."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hernandez James "Hunkie" Cooper is a former American football receiver and linebacker who played for the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League until his retirement in 2005. He is currently the wide receivers coach for the San Diego State Aztecs football team. He is a two time recipient of the Ironman of the Year award and was voted league MVP in 1993.
The 2010 Iowa Barnstormers season was the 10th season for the franchise, and the sixth in the Arena Football League, after three total seasons from 2001–2009 in the AF2, which dissolved following the 2009 season. The team was coached by John Gregory and played their home games at Wells Fargo Arena. The Barnstormers failed to make the playoffs when they finished the regular season 6th in the National Conference with a 7–9 record.