Did you know that the Arena Football League started in 1987? Oh, you did. Well I feel a little late to the party now. Anyway, the league started in 1987 and had four teams originally: Pittsburgh Gladiators, Denver Dynamite, Washington Commandos, and the Chicago Bruisers. It wasn't until 2004, when the league finally got things right and added the Philadelphia Soul to it's product. Today, there are 14 teams in the league.
Since their franchise began ten years ago, the Soul have been to three Arena Bowls. They defeated the San Jose Sabercats in 2008 to win their first title. However, they have come up short in each of the last two seasons, losing both the 2012 and 2013 Arena Bowls to the Arizona Rattlers.
Let's talk division alignments (surprisingly not the driest topic I've had to talk about today). There are four divisions. There is the American East Division, which is home to the Philadelphia Soul, Iowa Barnstormers, Pittsburgh Power, and Cleveland Gladiators. The other American division is the South, which consists of the Jacksonville Sharks, New Orleans Voodoo, Orlando Predators, and the Tampa Bay Storm. The National Conference has two divisions as well; the West, which has the Arizona Rattlers, LA Kiss, and San Antonio Talons, and the Pacific, which has the Portland Thunder, San Jose Sabercats, and Spokane Shock.
The QB for the 2014 season will be Bryan Randall, replacing the suspended Dan Raudabaugh. Randall has been on three different NFL rosters (Falcons '05, Buccaneers '06, Steelers '07) and this will be his first season with the Soul. Next, we have to mention standout receiver Tiger Jones, who is in his third season with the team. Last season, Jones led the league in receiving yards with 2121 yards, and was 10th in TDs with 37. Finally, the next standout player is Offensive Lineman Brennen Carvalho, who was a first team All Arena member in 2013.
2013 Soul Stats:
Philadelphia has a very high functioning offense, as they finished 3rd in the league in scoring with 1050 total points (58.3 per game). They balanced their attack and finished sixth in receptions and receiving TDs (402 receptions, 98 TDS), and also managed to finish second in rushing attempts and fourth in rushing TDs (187 attempts, 35 TDs). Their defense was solid as well, as the Soul finished fifth in interceptions with 26 and fifth in sacks with 31 total sacks.
There you have it, some basic information to either help get you started on your upcoming Soul fandom, or just a refresher for the more dedicated fan. Either way, I learned a lot this week about the Soul and I am pretty darn excited for the season to start.
By: Dan Goggin