ArenaBowl XXII: The Cards Favor Philly
Jul 25 2008 10:52PM
On Sunday afternoon in New Orleans, the American Conference champion San Jose SaberCats and National Conference champion Philadelphia Soul will touch gloves and come out flinging in what promises to be a high-octane ArenaBowl XXII.
San Jose is attempting to become the Arena Football League's first repeat champion since the Tampa Bay Storm turned the trick in ArenaBowls IX and X. Philadelphia, meanwhile, is looking to prove its league-best 13-3 record and season-long status as AFL favorite was more than just bluster.
San Jose, the closest thing to a dynasty the AFL's had since the old Detroit Drive won four of the first six Arena Bowls, is gunning for its fourth ArenaBowl title in the last seven years. Philadelphia, the media darling of the league, is majority owned by legendary rocker Jon Bon Jovi and employs former Eagle Ron Jaworski as team president.
In terms of sheer big-game experience, the Soul can't touch the SaberCats' impeccable resume. But in terms of sheer big-play ability, give Philadelphia a decided edge. Starting quarterbacks Mark Grieb (ArenaBowl XXI) and Matt D'Orazio (with Chicago in ArenaBowl XX) have won the last two ArenaBowls and rank as two of the AFL's smartest, most effective passers.
On Sunday, the game likely will come down to San Jose's guile and veteran cunning vs. Philly's frantic, frenetic pace headlined by two-time AFL Offensive Player of the Year Chris Jackson, a nine-year veteran still searching for his first ring.
We went searching, too, trying to see if a trend or favorite for Sunday's game was in the cards – the football cards, that is. As always, a favorite did emerge.
Since the AFL hasn't had a mainstream trading card set produced in two seasons, we ventured back to the 2005 and 2006 sets produced by Upper Deck to do some cold, hard cardboard analysis. What we found is that despite having fewer total cards than the SaberCats, the Soul gets the edge in total value and average value (thanks immeasurably to the presence of Jaworski autographs).
Here's a look:
||San Jose SaberCats
Enjoy the game Sunday. And no matter who you're rooting for, don't blink . . . you could miss two or three touchdowns in the time it takes to bat an eye.
-- Tracy Hackler