Arizona Rattlers

Last updated
Arizona Rattlers
AmericanFootball current event.svg Current season
Established 1992
Play in Phoenix Suns Arena
in Phoenix, Arizona
AZRattlers.com
Arizona Rattlers logo ArizonaRattlers.PNG
Arizona Rattlers 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
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 (24)
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 Phoenix Suns Arena in downtown Phoenix, but have occasionally played at Gila River Arena in neighboring Glendale when their primary home has been unavailable. 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.

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]

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]

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]

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

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 clinched 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. The Rattlers went on to qualify for the 2018 United Bowl, but lost to the Iowa Barnstormers.

In 2019, the Rattlers went undefeated through the regular season with a 14–0 record. At the end of the season, their playoff games were moved to Gila River Arena after the Talking Stick Resort Arena closed for renovations. The Rattlers lost to the Sioux Falls Storm 56–53, with coach Guy heavily blaming officiating. [16] With Talking Stick Resort Arena planned to be closed through the 2020 season and possibly into the 2021 season, the Rattlers agreed to a lease at Gila River Arena in the interim. [17] After their 2020 season was cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2021 season was pushed back, the Rattlers announced they would be returning to downtown Phoenix for their 2021 season home games at Phoenix Suns Arena, formerly known as Talking Stick Resort Arena. [18]

Notable players

Current roster

Arizona Rattlers roster
Quarterbacks
  • 10 Ben Holmes
  •  1 Drew Powell

Running backs

  •  6 Devauntay Ellis
  • 23 Nick Lasane
  • 14 Darrell Monroe

Wide receivers

  • 88 J.J. Brania-Hopp
  •  9 Deondre Douglas
  • 12 Troy Grant
  • -- Del'Michael High
  • 13 Braxton Haley
  • 16 Jarrod Harrington
  • 11 Jeremiah Harris
  • 18 Isaiah Huston
  • 17 Zimari Manning
  •  8 Troy Pelletier
Offensive linemen
  • 77 Kamryn Bennett
  • 56 Steven Gurrola
  • 67 Jeremy Hickey
  • 50 Abram Holland
  • 78 Jahair Jones
  • 94 Lamar Mady
  • 64 Eastwood Thomas
  • 79 Kenny Thomas

Defensive linemen

  • 93 Rashad Brandon
  • 92 Nikolaus D'Avanzo
  • 96 Chase Demoor
  • 94 Josh Gordon
  • 54 Jack Sherlock
Linebackers
  • 48 Montavious Atkinson
  • 33 Byron Evans
  • 36 Alex Figueroa
  • 43 Ricky Wyatt Jr.

Defensive backs

  •  4 Daquawn Brown
  •  3 Allen Chapman
  • 27 Devin Cockrell
  •  5 Bryce Enyard
  •  7 Tyrell Pearson
  • 24 Cole Sterns
  • 21 Jaleel Wadood
  • 15 Dillon Winfrey

Kickers

  • 22 Ernesto Lacayo
Reserve list
  • Currently vacant
  • Rookies in italics
  • Roster updated March 20, 2021
  • 42 Active
More rosters

Retired uniform numbers

Arizona Rattlers retired numbers
No.PlayerPositionSeasonsDate RetiredRef.
13 Sherdrick Bonner QB 1993–2007June 16, 2010 [19]
14 Hunkie Cooper WR/LB 1993–2005May 6, 2005 [20]
17 Randy Gatewood WR/DB 1996–2007May 9, 2008 [21]

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 2019 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–present14141.775177 2011, 2016 Coach of the Year

Staff

Arizona Rattlers staff
Front office
  • CEO / majority owner – Ron Shurts
  • 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 – Shelby Regier
 

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 (now Bally Sports Arizona). That first season, they televised 4 games. When the 2005 season came, the Arena Football League announced a partnership with FOX Sports Regional Networks 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, broadcasting up to only 3 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.

2017–2018

All Indoor Football League games are streamed live on YouTube. Their games were also still aired on FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports Arizona Plus.

2019–present

In 2019, Arizona Rattlers aired all home games on The CW Phoenix for the 2019 season. The 2019 United Bowl, which was being hosted by the Arizona Rattlers, was televised by FOX Sports Arizona Plus. All Arizona Rattlers games were also streamed on YouTube.

Related Research Articles

Arena Football League Professional indoor American football league

The Arena Football League (AFL) was a professional indoor American football league in the United States. It was founded in 1987, making it the third longest-running professional football league in North America after the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the National Football League (NFL) until the AFL closed in 2019. The AFL played 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 Jim Foster, a former executive of the United States Football League (USFL) and the NFL. Each of the league's 32 seasons culminated in the ArenaBowl, with the winner being crowned the league's champion for that season.

Phoenix Suns Arena Arena in Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix Suns Arena is a sports and entertainment arena in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Philadelphia Soul were a professional arena football team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and competed in the Arena Football League (AFL). The Soul 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.

The San Jose SaberCats were a professional arena football team based in San Jose, California. The SaberCats had been members of the Arena Football League (AFL) since 1995 ; and until 2015, they belonged to the AFL's National Conference. Over nineteen seasons of play, the SaberCats emerged as one of the Arena Football League's most successful franchises; at the conclusion of the 2015 season, the SaberCats boasted a lifetime regular season record of 198–98. Moreover, the SaberCats had won a total of four AFL Championships. Their lifetime postseason record stood at 19–12.

The Iowa Barnstormers are a professional indoor football team based in Des Moines, Iowa. They are currently members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). They play their home games at Wells Fargo Arena, known in indoor football circles as "The Well".

The Spokane Shock are a professional indoor American football team based in Spokane, Washington, playing their home games at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. The team was initially a member of arenafootball2 (af2), the Shock won division titles in all four seasons and ArenaCups in 2006 and 2009 before they joined the Arena Football League (AFL) in its 2010 relaunch. The team advanced to the playoffs three times after joining the AFL, winning ArenaBowl XXIII in their first season, making them the only arena football franchise to win both the ArenaCup and the ArenaBowl.

Clint Dolezel

Clint Dolezel is an American football coach and former professional arena football player in the Arena Football League (AFL). He was named the inaugural head coach of the Frisco Fighters in the Indoor Football League before the 2020 season.

Indoor Football League

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. It has one of the largest number of currently active teams among indoor football leagues. The league has operated continuously under the same name and corporate structure longer than any other current indoor football league. IFL players earn US$250 per game played. The season is typically 14 games long, plus playoffs of two or more rounds.

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.

The Jacksonville Sharks are a professional indoor football team based in Jacksonville, Florida, playing their home games at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Beginning in 2017, the Sharks began play as charter members of the National Arena League (NAL). They were members of the Arena Football League (AFL) from 2010 to 2016 and won the championship of their division in the first four seasons of their existence.

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.

ArenaBowl XXVII

ArenaBowl XXVII was the 27th edition of the championship in the Arena Football League. The National Conference champion Arizona Rattlers defeated the American Conference champion Cleveland Gladiators, 72–32. The game was played on August 23, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, the home of the Gladiators.

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.

The 2016 Indoor Football League season was the eighth season of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Playing with ten teams in two conferences located primarily in mid-level cities in the central United States, the league's regular season kicked off on February 20, 2016 and ended on June 24, 2016. The playoffs were held in three rounds, with the top seed in each conference receiving a first-round bye as the second and third seeds facing each other in the conference semifinal, with the winner of that game facing the top seed in a conference championship game followed by the winners of those games meeting in the United Bowl.

The 2016 Arena Football League season was the 29th season in the history of the Arena Football League. Prior to the start of the season, the league contracted to eight teams. The 16-game regular season then began on April 1, 2016 and ended on August 1, 2016. The league, however, kept its eight-team playoff format, which meant that every club qualified for the postseason.

2017 Arena Football League season Sports season

The 2017 Arena Football League season was the 30th season in the history of the Arena Football League (AFL). Prior to the start of the season, the league contracted to five teams. Due to this, for the first time since 1991, the league was not divided into conferences or divisions. The 14-game regular season began on April 7, 2017, when the two new teams, the Baltimore Brigade and the Washington Valor, faced off in the Verizon Center, and ended on August 5, 2017, when the Tampa Bay Storm lost against the Philadelphia Soul.

2017 United Bowl annual NCAA football game

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.

The 2021 Indoor Football League season is scheduled to be the thirteenth season of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The league is set to play the season with twelve teams, down from thirteen the previous season, by adding one expansion team, one team from the National Arena League, one team from the American Arena League, and four teams going on hiatus. In addition, three existing teams make their IFL on-field debut after the 2020 season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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