|Date||August 23, 1998|
|Arena||St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida|
|MVP||Rick Hamilton, FB/LB, Orlando|
|Ironman of the Game||Barry Wagner, WR/DB, Orlando|
|Winning Coach||Jay Gruden|
|Losing Coach||Tim Marcum|
|Announcers||Mike Adamle, Mike Golic, & Lewis Johnson|
Arena Bowl XII was the Arena Football League's twelfth Arena Bowl. In this match-up, 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 would be the second and final ArenaBowl to have the "War On I-4" rivalry on the big stage. For the Predators, this was their fourth ArenaBowl appearance in their eight years of existence (having lost ArenaBowls' VI, VIII, & IX). This year, they were under the command of first-year head coach (and former Tampa Bay Storm QB) Jay Gruden. For the Storm, this was their eighth overall appearance as they were going for their fifth ArenaBowl title in eight seasons. Now, not only would they face their arch-rival, but they would also have to go up against their former star player in Jay Gruden.
Game summary Edit
In the first quarter, the Predators drew first blood with kicker David Cool getting a 23-yard field goal, yet the Storm took the lead with QB Peter Tom Willis completing a 12-yard TD pass to OS George LaFrance. Orlando would respond with QB Pat O'Hara completing a 23-yard TD pass to OS Robert Gordon, yet Tampa Bay answered with Willis and LaFrance hooking up with each other again on a 9-yard TD pass.
In the second quarter, the Predators drew closer with back-up QB Connell Maynor getting a 3-yard TD run, while the Storm had kicker Björn Nittmo get a 44-yard field goal. Afterwards, Orlando took the lead prior to halftime with FB/LB Rick Hamilton getting a 36-yard TD run.
In the third quarter, the Predators took control with Hamilton getting a 5-yard TD run, OL/DL Webbie Burnett sacking Willis in the end zone for a safety, Hamilton getting a 10-yard TD run, and WR/DB Barry Wagner returning a missed field goal 48 yards for a touchdown. The only response that Tampa Bay could show was Willis and LaFrance hooking up with each other yet again on a 7-yard TD pass. Afterwards, Orlando wrapped up the period with Cool kicking a 20-yard field goal.
In the fourth quarter, the Predators continued its beatdown with DS Damon Mason returning an interception 22 yards for a touchdown (with a failed PAT). All that was left of the Storm's fire power was Willis' 8-yard TD pass to WR/LB Stevie Thomas (with a failed PAT). Immediately afterwards, Orlando wrapped up its very first Arena Bowl title with Gordon returning a kickoff 8 yards for a touchdown.
Scoring summary Edit
- ORL - FG Cool 23
- TB - LaFrance 12 pass from Willis (Nittmo kick)
- ORL - Gordon 23 pass from O'Hara (Cool kick)
- TB - LaFrance 9 pass from Willis (Nittmo kick)
- ORL - Maynor 3 run (Cool kick)
- TB - FG Nittmo 44
- ORL - Hamilton 36 run (Cool kick)
- ORL - Hamilton 5 run (Cool kick)
- ORL - Safety Burnett
- ORL - Hamilton 10 run (Cool kick)
- ORL - Wagner 48 missed field goal (Cool kick)
- TB - LaFrance 7 pass from Willis (Bowden run)
- ORL - FG Cool 20
- ORL - Mason 22 Interception Return (Cool kick failed)
- TB - Thomas 8 pass from Willis (Nittmo kick failed)
- ORL - Gordon 8 Kickoff Return (Cool kick failed)