Arizona Rattlers

Last updated
Arizona Rattlers
AmericanFootball current event.svg Current season
Established 1992
Play in Talking Stick Resort Arena
in Phoenix, Arizona
AZRattlers.com
Arizona Rattlers helmet Arizona Rattlers Home Helmet Logo 2016.png
Arizona Rattlers helmet
Arizona Rattlers logo ArizonaRattlers.PNG
Arizona Rattlers logo
Helmet Logo
League/conference affiliations
Arena Football League (19922016)
  • American Conference (1992–2008)
  • National Conference (2010–2016)

Indoor Football League (2017–present)

  • Intense Conference (2017)
Team colorsBlack, copper, teal, white
                
MascotFang and Stryker
Personnel
Owner(s)Ron Shurts
PresidentChris Presson
General manager Kevin Guy
Head coach Kevin Guy
Team history
  • Arizona Rattlers (1992–present)
Championships
League championships (6)
Conference championships (6)
Division championships (10)
Playoff appearances (23)
Home arena(s)

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.

Indoor American football sport

Indoor American football is a variation of American football played at ice hockey-sized indoor arenas. While varying in details from league to league, the rules of indoor football are designed to allow for play in a smaller arena. It is a distinct discipline and not be confused with traditional American football played in large domed stadiums, as is done by some teams at the college and professional levels.

Phoenix, Arizona State capital city in Arizona, United States

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of Arizona, with 1,626,000 people. It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents. The state capital accounts for 23% of the state population.

Indoor Football League indoor American football league founded in 2008

The Indoor Football League (IFL) is a professional indoor American football league created in 2008 out of the merger between the Intense Football League and United Indoor Football. The league is the second highest tier in indoor/arena football behind the Arena Football League (AFL), and has operated continuously under the same name and corporate structure longer than any other current indoor football league, considering that the AFL's 2009 season was cancelled and the original league filed for bankruptcy that year. IFL players earn a minimum of US$200 per game played. The season is typically about 14 games long, plus playoffs of two or more rounds.

Contents

History

Founding and White era (1991–2004)

In 1987, it was speculated that the Phoenix, Arizona, area would be a target for the newly formed Arena Football League (AFL). [1]

Arena Football League Professional indoor American football league

The Arena Football League (AFL) is a professional indoor American football league in the United States. It was founded in 1987 by Jim Foster, making it the third longest-running professional football league in North America, after the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the National Football League (NFL). The AFL plays a proprietary code known as arena football, a form of indoor American football played on a 66-by-28 yard field, with rules encouraging offensive performance, resulting in a faster-paced and higher-scoring game. The sport was invented in the early 1980s and patented by Foster, a former executive of the United States Football League (USFL) and the NFL.

On September 11, 1991, it was announced that Jerry Colangelo had been awarded an expansion franchise in the AFL in Phoenix. [2] Colangelo, owner of the NBA's Phoenix Suns, first approached Frank Kush to coach his team, but Kush declined the invitation. [3] In October 1991, the team announced that former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White would be the franchise's first head coach. [4] In December 1991, the team announced that they would be named the Arizona Rattlers after more than 250 people suggested that the team's nickname should be the Rattlers, while 55% of their responders picked "Arizona" over "Phoenix". [5]

Jerry Colangelo American basketball player, coach, executive

Jerry Colangelo is an American businessman and sports executive. He formerly owned the Phoenix Suns of the NBA, the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, the Arizona Sandsharks of the Continental Indoor Soccer League, the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League and the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball. He was also instrumental in the relocation of the original Winnipeg Jets team in the NHL to Phoenix to become the Phoenix Coyotes. In 2014, Grand Canyon University renamed its Christian based school of business after Jerry Colangelo, replacing Ken Blanchard's name sake. From December 2015 to April 2016, Colangelo served as Chairman of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers, before serving as a special adviser to the team until December 2018.

Phoenix Suns American professional basketball team

The Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division, and are the only team in their division not based in California. The Suns play their home games at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Frank Joseph Kush was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Arizona State University from 1958 to 1979, compiling a record of 176–54–1. Kush was also the head coach of the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1981, the National Football League's Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts from 1982 to 1984, and the Arizona Outlaws of the United States Football League in 1985. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1995. Kush is of Polish descent and was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.

In 1992, the Rattlers began with their first two games on the road, and won their home debut in front of a sell-out crowd of 15,505 at America West Arena by a score of 56–31 over the Sacramento Attack. [6]

In 1994, the Rattlers captured their first ArenaBowl championship, with a 36–31 victory over the Orlando Predators. [7]

ArenaBowl

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.

Orlando Predators Arena football team

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.

In December 1999, Gene Nudo, White and Will Meris pursued the purchase of the Rattlers from Colangelo. [8]

Gene Nudo is a former Arena Football League coach for the Arizona Rattlers and current head coach at Fenwick High School. He has a career record of 13-21, including a 1-1 mark in the postseason. 2011 Inductee into the AFL Hall of Fame; 3 time Executive of the year, recipient of the Founders Award for lifetime service to the AFL. Former head coach of 1991 undefeated Illinois High School state champion Driscoll Catholic High School from Addison, Illinois. As a coach is also a member of Chicago Minor League Football, Minor Pro Football, Driscoll Catholic High School and Ridgewood High School Hall of Fame.

Kevin Guy coaching era (2008–present)

In 2008, it was announced that Brett Bouchy would become the new owner of the Arizona Rattlers. After the Rattlers had a 4–12 record in 2007, Brett Bouchy hired Kevin Guy as the new Arizona Rattlers head coach in the 2008 season and the Rattlers improved to an 8–8 record and cliched playoff berth for the first time since 2006, but lost in the first round. In August 2009, numerous media outlets began reporting that the AFL was folding permanently and would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The league released a statement on August 4 to the effect that while the league was not folding, it was suspending league operations indefinitely. Despite this, several of the league's creditors filed papers to force a Chapter 7 liquidation if the league did not do so voluntarily. This request was granted on August 7, though converted to a Chapter 11 reorganization on August 26. However Brett Bouchy and a group of investors planned to launch a new league called Arena Football 1 and helped the Arizona Rattlers and the Orlando Predators to become two of the four teams to survive and return in 2010 with Arena Football 1. In early 2010, it was announced that Arena Football 1 was granted the trademarks to the AFL brand and was renamed the Arena Football League. In 2011, after Brett Bouchy was able keep both the Arizona Rattlers and the Orlando Predators alive, he was forced to let go of ownership to one of the teams and that became the Arizona Rattlers.

On May 12, 2011, Ron Shurts became the new majority owner of the Rattlers franchise. [9]

In 2011, the Rattlers won 16 games in the regular season, a league-record for wins in a single regular season. In the playoffs, by winning the National Conference championship, they clinched a berth in ArenaBowl XXIV. They lost the game to the Jacksonville Sharks when Jacksonville quarterback Aaron Garcia threw a game-winning touchdown pass on the game's final play. The Rattlers redeemed themselves the following season, winning ArenaBowl XXV over the Philadelphia Soul to win their first title in 15 years. [10]

In 2013, the Rattlers and Soul met again in ArenaBowl XXVI, with the Rattlers winning yet again, 48-39. This made them the first team since 1995 to win back-to-back championships, and the first team in history to beat the same team for both titles. [11] [12]

In 2014, the Rattlers went 15–3 in the regular season after a 14-game winning streak to start the season, and defeated the Cleveland Gladiators in ArenaBowl XXVII by a score of 72–32, becoming the first team in AFL history to win three consecutive AFL championships since the Detroit Drive of 1988–1990, as well as establishing the largest margin of victory (40 points) in an ArenaBowl. [13]

In 2015, the Rattlers went 14-4 in the regular season and made it to the Conference Championships but lost to the San Jose Sabercats 70-67, a team which had twice beaten them in the regular season. This ended their streak of consecutive ArenaBowl appearances at four.

In 2016, the Rattlers went 13-3 in the regular season, then blew out the Portland Steel and the Cleveland Gladiators en route to their fifth ArenaBowl appearance in six years, only to lose to the Philadelphia Soul.

Move from the AFL to the IFL

On October 17, 2016, the Rattlers announced they had left the AFL and joined the Indoor Football League for the 2017 season. [14] Owner Ron Shurts said that it was possible that the AFL would have to go on hiatus in 2017, and wasn't sure the fans would return in 2018 if that happened. The move made Phoenix by far the largest market in the IFL. [15] They made their IFL debut on February 17, 2017, at the defending six-time IFL Champions Sioux Falls Storm, but lost 40–29.

On June 24, 2017, the Rattlers faced the Nebraska Danger in the Intense Conference Championship and won 62–36. They defeated the reigning champion Sioux Falls Storm 50–41 in the 2017 United Bowl on July 8, 2017.

On April 29, 2018, the Rattlers defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans 84–83 and earned their 300th win in franchise history.

Notable players

Current roster

Arizona Rattlers roster
Quarterbacks
  • --Michael Keir
  •  1 Verlon Reed
  • 11 Jeff Ziemba

Running backs

  • 14 Darrell Monroe
  • --L. A. Ramsey
  • 28 Shadrach Thornton

Wide receivers

  • 17 Dezmon Epps
  • 16 Jarrod Harrington
  • --Johnny Jackson IV
  • --Bob Pugh
  • --Markis Sumpter
  • --Dylan Young
Offensive linemen
  • 50 Chris Boles
  • --Torre Boyd
  • --Mason Butler
  • 56 Steven Gurrola
  • 77Abram Holland
  • -- Ryan Schmidt

Defensive linemen

  • 92Nikolaus D'Avanzo
  • --Nicholas DiGati
  • 95 Joshua Gordon
  • --Michael Kluge
  • 44 Lance McDowdell
  • -- Edward Vinson
Linebackers
  • --Terry Johnson
  • 43Ricky Wyatt Jr

Defensive backs

  • --Brandon Bailey
  • 27Devin Cockrell
  • -- Donnie Duncan
  • 36Phillip Henry
  • --Carlos Hutton
  •  8 Davontae Merriweather
  • --Dexter Reese
  • --Braden Roe
  • --Josh Wilson

Kickers

  • Currently vacant
Reserve list
  •  5 Anthony Amos WR (Exempt)
  • 10Jimmy Camacho K (Exempt)
  • --Malik Golson WR (IR) Injury icon 2.svg
  • --Dante Holmes DL (Exempt)
  • 45 Ryan Langford LB (Exempt)
  • 15 Dillion Winfrey WR (Exempt)
  • Rookies in italics
  • Roster updated February 28, 2019
  • 39 Active, 6 Inactive
More rosters

Retired uniform numbers

Arizona Rattlers retired numbers
PlayerPositionSeasonsDate RetiredRef.
13 Sherdrick Bonner QB 1993–2007June 16, 2010 [16]
14 Hunkie Cooper WR/LB 1993–2005May 6, 2005 [17]
17 Randy Gatewood WR/DB 1996–2007May 9, 2008 [18]

Arena Football League Hall of Famers

Arizona Rattlers Hall of Famers
No.NameYear InductedPosition(s)Years w/ Rattlers
13 Sherdrick Bonner 2012 QB 1993–2007
14 Hunkie Cooper 2011 WR/LB 1993–2005
17 Randy Gatewood 2012 WR/DB 1996–2007
44 Bob McMillen 2013 FB/LB 1995–2000
-- Gene Nudo 2011Executive/Head Coach 1993–2007
-- Danny White 2002 Head Coach 1994–2002

Individual awards

All-Arena players

The following Rattlers players have been named to All-Arena Teams:

All-IFL players

The following Rattlers players have been named to All-IFL Teams:

All-Ironman players

The following Rattlers players have been named to All-Ironman Teams:

All-Rookie players

The following Rattlers players have been named to All-Rookie Teams:

Notable coaches

Head coaches

Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2017 Indoor Football League season.

NameTermRegular SeasonPlayoffsAwards
WLWin%WL
Danny White 19922004 12155.6882010 1993 Coach of the Year
Todd Shell 2005 79.43800
Gene Nudo 20062007 1220.37511
Kevin Guy 2008–present11741.753165 2011, 2016 Coach of the Year

Staff

Arizona Rattlers staff
Front office
  • CEO / majority owner – Ron Shurts
  • President - Chris Presson
  • General manager - Kevin Guy
  • Assistant general manager - Jeff Jarnigan
  • Director of business operartions – Ashley Stovall
  • Operations assistant – Karra Labombarde
  • Director of team operations – J. T. Thompson
  • Media / community relations – Peter Garbow
  • Sidewinders Dancers Director – Angie Baker
 

Coaches

Team ownership

The Arizona Rattlers introduced Ron Shurts as the team’s new majority owner on May 12, 2011. [9]

"I have been an Arizona Rattlers season ticket holder since day one and attended the first Arizona Rattlers game at America West Arena. I believe in the team and the Arena Football League," said Shurts. "I want to bring the passion and excitement for Rattlers football back to US Airways Center and the Valley."

"Downtown Phoenix continues to grow and the Rattlers will be an integral part of the affordable, family-fun entertainment that the Suns and the Mercury are providing the local community," Shurts added.

Season-by-season

Media

1992–1995

The Very first broadcaster of the Rattlers was KUTP UPN-45. They would televise home & away games, whichever games were not picked up by ESPN, to include playoff games.

1996–2003

KASW-TV WB6 WB61 took over broadcasting the Rattlers.

2004–2008

Starting in the 2004 season, the Arizona Rattlers partnered with Fox Sports Arizona. That 1st season, they televised 4 games. When the 2005 season came, the Arena football league announced a partnership with Fox Sports Regional to televise games regionally. In addition, the Arizona Rattlers announced they would also produce games with Fox Sports Arizona separate from the League contract.

2010

After the cancellation of the 2009 season and return of the Arena Football League. The Arizona Rattlers announced a new broadcast deal with KAZT-TV AZTV 7 to broadcast up to eight games of the 2010 season. The partnership ended after one season after KAZT would not renew their broadcast partnership with the Rattlers in the 2011 season.

2011

After major changes of ownership throughout the 2011 season the Arizona Rattlers announced a new broadcast deal in mid season to return to Fox Sports Arizona with some games carried on Fox Sports Arizona Plus.

2012–2014

As the 2012 season approached the Arizona Rattlers would again announced that they would be moving their broadcasts to a new home this time to Cox7 Arizona with longtime Arizona sports caster Kevin Ray and Dale Hellestrae calling the game in the booth with Chris Harris on the sidelines and Lindsay Smith on Social Media. Cox7 was known as the Rattlers best broadcaster by televising all nine of their home games including selected away games that were simulcasted to other teams broadcasts. Cox7 also did Pregame Shows with the Rattlers before every home game showing documentaries and Talking LIVE before the game. The Partnership became a major success for Cox7 the Arizona Rattlers later extended their contract with Cox7 through the 2014 season when the announcement was made in November 2012.

2015–2016

After the major success with Cox7 Arizona, the Rattlers would not renew with the station after their contract expired in the 2014 season and announced they would move their broadcasts back to Fox Sports Arizona with broadcasting up to only three home games and one playoff game on Fox Sports Arizona Plus. However, the Rattlers still carried over the same broadcast team from Cox7 Arizona with Kevin Ray, Dale Hellestrae, and Chris Harris calling the game. The Rattlers were also seen on National broadcasts on ESPN2 and CBS Sports Network until 2016 when they left the AFL.

2017–present

All Indoor Football League games are streamed live on YouTube. Their games were also still aired on Fox Sports Arizona. In 2018, it was announced that the Arizona Rattlers would air their games on Pheonix The CW for the 2019 season.

Related Research Articles

Chicago Rush Arena football team

The Chicago Rush were a professional arena football team based in Rosemont, Illinois. The team played at the Allstate Arena from 2001 to 2013. They were a member of the Central Division of the National Conference of the Arena Football League (AFL). Founded in 2001, the team qualified for the playoffs 11 out of 12 seasons and won one AFL championship, ArenaBowl XX in 2006. During their history, the Rush won five divisional titles and competed in the AFL Conference Championship six times, including four consecutive appearances from 2004 to 2007. They also had the largest market in the AFL.

The Philadelphia Soul are a professional arena football team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They compete in the Arena Football League (AFL). The Soul have made five ArenaBowl appearances, winning their first appearance and losing their next two appearances. The Soul won in their fourth appearance, against the Rattlers in 2016, winning 56–42. They also won in their fifth appearance in 2017 against the Tampa Bay Storm, winning 44–40.

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ArenaBowl XI

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.

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.

Kevin Guy is an arena football coach and former wide receiver and defensive back who is the head coach for the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League (IFL). He played his college football at the University of West Alabama, and was an AFL wide receiver and defensive back from 1996 to 1999. He has been a football coach since 2000, and first served as a head coach in 2000 as the interim head coach for the New Jersey Red Dogs. After being the defensive coordinator for the San Jose SaberCats from 2006 to 2007, he became the Rattlers head coach in 2008. In 2018, he and his wife Cathy became two of the co-owners of a new Tucson-based IFL franchise, called the Tucson Sugar Skulls, set to play in 2019.

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Nick Davila is an arena football quarterback who is currently a free agent. A three-time AFL champion, and three-time MVP, he also played for the Arizona Rattlers from 2010 to 2016. Davila is of Mexican American descent. He is nicknamed the "Latin Laser". In 2017, he was the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach for the Rattlers of the Indoor Football League (IFL), who went on to win the 2017 United Bowl.

Chris McAllister is an American football defensive end for the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League (IFL). He attended Judson High School in Converse, Texas; upon graduating in 2009, he played football at Baylor University. During his time at Baylor, McAllister recorded a total of 15.0 sacks; this left him tied for the record of most career sacks in Baylor history. He led the team in sacks in 2012 and 2013.

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2017 United Bowl

The 2017 United Bowl was the championship game of the 2017 Indoor Football League season. It was played between the Intense Conference Champion Arizona Rattlers and the United Conference Champion Sioux Falls Storm. The game was played at Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Rattlers won the game by a score of 50–41.

References

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  2. "Arena expansion planned". The Daily Gazette. October 2, 1991. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  3. "Kush says no to new Phoenix team". The News. September 13, 1991. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  4. "Ex-Cowboy White new Arena coach". Spokane Chronicle. October 11, 1991. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  5. "Arena football team settles on 'Rattlers'". The Prescott Courier. December 8, 1991. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  6. Mel Relsner (June 17, 1992). "51-36? Doesn't seem like 'real' football". Kingman Daily Miner. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  7. Tim Hipps (September 3, 1994). "Rattlers bite Predators at ArenaBowl". The News-Journal. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  8. "Danny White interested in purchasing Arizona Rattlers". The Daily Courier. December 17, 1999. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  9. 1 2 Williams, Cory. "Arena Football: Arizona Rattlers Find New Majority Owner, Ron Shurts". SB Nation Arizona. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  10. "Game Statistics". www.arenafootball.com. Arena Football League. August 10, 2012. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  11. "Arizona Rattlers Repeat as ArenaBowl Champions". www.arenafootball.com. Arena Football League. August 17, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  12. Joe Williams (August 17, 2013). "ArenaBowl XXVI: Rattlers win 2nd Arena Football League title in row". www.orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  13. http://www.arenafootball.com/sports/arenabowl/spec-rel/082414aaa.html
  14. "IFL Announces Addition of Arizona Rattlers". IFL. October 17, 2016.
  15. Richard Obert (October 17, 2016). "Rattlers leaving Arena Football League for Indoor Football League". The Arizona Republic.
  16. "Arizona Rattlers To Retire Shedrick Bonner's Jersey". www.boxscorenews.com. Stryker-Indigo. June 12, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  17. Darren Urban (May 6, 2005). "Rattlers to honor former star at halftime ceremony". www.eastvalleytribune.com. East Valley Tribune. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  18. "Rattlers To Retire Randy Gatewood's Number 17". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. April 29, 2008. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  19. 1 2 "Arizona Rattlers notes: Nick Davila back to AFL to play, Steve Axman joins staff". AZ Central . January 24, 2018.