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ArenaBowl XXII
ArenaBowl 22
1 2 3 4 Total
SJ 14 13 7 22 56
PHI 14 23 9 13 59
Date July 27, 2008
Arena New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
Attendance 17,244
MVP Matt D'Orazio, QB, Philadelphia
Offensive Player of the Game Chris Jackson, WR, Philadelphia
Defensive Player of the Game Gabe Nyenhuis, DL, Philadelphia
Ironman of the Game Mike Brown, WR/DB, Philadelphia
Winning Coach Bret Munsey
Losing Coach Darren Arbet
U.S. TV
Network ABC
Announcers Bob Wischusen, Ray Bentley, Stan Verrett and Marcellus Wiley
 < XXI ArenaBowl XXIII > 

ArenaBowl XXII was played on July 27, 2008 at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana (the host of ArenaBowl XXI). It was the 22nd and final championship game in the history of the original Arena Football League. This was the fourth neutral site ArenaBowl in AFL history and the second ArenaBowl in the state of Louisiana. It was the last ArenaBowl before the AFL's economic suspension, until 2010 when the AFL was reformed, continuing on with ArenaBowl XXIII.

BackgroundEdit

The game was played between the American Conference Champions San Jose SaberCats, who were making their fourth, and second consecutive, appearance in the title game (they have won in all of their previous trips), against the National Conference Champions Philadelphia Soul, who were making their first appearance in the franchise's history in the ArenaBowl.

Philadelphia SoulEdit

Week Date Opponent Home/Away Result
1 March 1 Orlando Predators Home W 77-56
2 March 9 Chicago Rush Away W 60-49
3 March 16 New York Dragons Home W 63-42
4 March 20 Los Angeles Avengers Away W 71-34
5 March 29 Tampa Bay Storm Home W 59-51
6 April 5 Utah Blaze Home W 64-56
7 April 12 San Jose SaberCats Away W 58-57
8 April 21 Columbus Destroyers Away W 76-55
9 April 28 Dallas Desperados Home W 57-28
10 May 2 Cleveland Gladiators Away L 55-67
11 May 12 Georgia Force Away L 62-63
12 May 17 Columbus Destroyers Home W 51-43
13 May 22 Kansas City Brigade Home L 47-54
14 Bye Week
15 June 7 Dallas Desperados Away W 71-64
16 June 14 Cleveland Gladiators Home W 62-61
17 June 22 New York Dragons Away W 59-30

The Soul, along with division rival Dallas, were undefeated at week 9. They preceded to beat them in that week, however when travelling to Cleveland for the following game, they lost their first game of the season. They continued to sputter, dropping two of their last three, however these ultimately were their only three losses on the season. They were the top seed in their conference, clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs until the actual ArenaBowl.

San Jose SaberCatsEdit

Week Date Opponent Home/Away Result
1 March 3 Chicago Rush Away L 47-70
2 March 10 Grand Rapids Rampage Away W 66-58
3 March 15 Arizona Rattlers Home W 63-43
4 March 22 Dallas Desperados Home L 56-59
5 March 29 Kansas City Brigade Away W 44-36
6 April 5 New Orleans VooDoo Away L 43-72
7 April 12 Philadelphia Soul Home L 57-58
8 April 18 Utah Blaze Away W 61-40
9 April 26 Los Angeles Avengers Home W 70-42
10 May 3 Orlando Predators Away L 35-61
11 May 9 Arizona Rattlers Away W 63-42
12 May 17 Utah Blaze Home W 74-64
13 May 24 Colorado Crush Home W 59-42
14 May 31 Los Angeles Avengers Away W 66-56
15 Bye Week
16 June 14 Tampa Bay Storm Home W 73-70
17 June 21 Georgia Force Home W 68-62

The SaberCats finished the season with a record of 11-5, yet, unlike the Soul, were not undefeated for one week of the season, due to their loss in week one to the Chicago Rush. However after losing four of their first seven games, and five out of their first ten, they continued on to finish with six consecutive wins to have a total of eleven during the season. They finished well enough to have the second best record in the conference, and best in their division. They were the number two seed in the playoffs.

PlayoffsEdit

One odd fact noted throughout the playoffs was that both lowest seeded teams making the playoffs won in the first round.

In the playoffs, the Soul first beat the sixth-seeded New York Dragons 48-49 in the Divisional round of the tournament on a controversial call. The Soul appeared to have scored the game-winning touchdown as time expires. The play was reviewed, and even though the replays seemed to indicate a knee down before the ball crossed the goal line, the score was confirmed and the Soul won the game. In the Eastern Conference Championship they proceeded to beat the fourth-seeded Cleveland Gladiators by a score of 35-70.

The SaberCats had a similar playoff schedule. They also had a first-round bye but unlike the Soul, failed to gain home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They beat the fifth-seeded Colorado Crush (51-64) in the Divisional round and the sixth-seeded Grand Rapids Rampage (55-81), who previously beat top-seeded Chicago Rush, in the Western Conference Championship.

Game summaryEdit

Philadelphia defeated San Jose 59-56, and Soul quarterback Matt D'Orazio was named the Mitsubishi Motors ArenaBowl XXII MVP.

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