San Jose SaberCats
San Jose SaberCats
Founded 1995
Head coach Darren Arbet
Home arena HP Pavilion
City, State San Jose, California
ArenaCup championships 3: (2002, 2004, 2007)

The San Jose SaberCats are a professional arena football team scheduled to resume play in the Arena Football League for 2011. They began play as a 1995 expansion team. They played in the Western Division of the American Conference. Their final coach in the original Arena Football League was Darren Arbet, who will be a part of the ownership group for their 2011 return. All naming rights, trademarks, logos and likeness of the San Jose SaberCats are now owned by the new reemergence of the Arena Football League (AFL); formerly the Arena Football 1 (AF1).[1], making their 2011 return possible.


Original AFL (1995–2008)

The SaberCats began play in 1995. The team played at the HP Pavilion at San Jose in San Jose, California, which is also home to the San Jose Sharks franchise of the National Hockey League. The SaberCats competed in the Western Division of the American Conference. The SaberCats are one of Arena's premier organizations, having never drawn below 10,000 fans at any of their home games. The SaberCats were ArenaBowl champions in 2002, 2004, and 2007, beating the Arizona Rattlers for their first two titles and the Columbus Destroyers for the third. The San Jose SaberCats did play in a fourth ArenaBowl, ArenaBowl XXII, but lost to the Philadelphia Soul. ArenaBowl XXII would be the last game played in the Arena Football League.

On June 5, 2004, the SaberCats were fined $20,000 for violations during their Quarterfinal Round playoff game against the Tampa Bay Storm. They were first fined $10,000 for distributing cow bells, without advance approval, to fans entering the building, which was cited as a violation by the AFL as an intentional competitive advantage generated by the creation of artificial noise. Also, during the game itself, the SaberCats refused to apply microphones to certain players and coaches during the NBC broadcast, which led to an additional $10,000 fine.

The cowbells went on to become a mainstay of many perennial Season Ticket holders, even though the SaberCats never again distributed cowbells to fans after the incident in 2004.

San Jose was 9-7 in 2005, earning the fourth seed in the American Conference playoffs. They lost to #1 seed Colorado Crush 56-48 in the first round, after failing to score on six goal line opportunities in the final minute of play.

The SaberCats went 10-6 in 2006 and won a division title in the process, along with the AC's #2 seed. They got a Bye Week from the Wild Card Round and then beat the Arizona Rattlers in the Divisional Round 62-48. Because the Colorado Crush (the AC's #1 seed) lost in the Divisional Round to the Chicago Rush, they hosted the American Conference Championship game; however, they lost the game 59-56.

SaberCats in the 2007 American Conference Championship.

In 2007, they got revenge against the Rush in the American Conference championship and advanced to ArenaBowl XXI, where they beat the Columbus Destroyers in front of a sellout crowd in New Orleans Arena and claimed their third Arena Bowl title in six seasons.

AFL collapse and revival (2009–present)

On August 4, 2009, the Arena Football League announced that it was "suspending operations indefinitely" but likely to fold. The SaberCats announced shortly afterward that they intend to field a team for 2010, even if it means moving to a new indoor football league.[2]

When the formation of a new arena football league, Arena Football 1 (renamed the new Arena Football League), was announced in 2009, the SaberCats were not one of the initial 16 teams announced. Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings owner Dan Newman mentioned that the SaberCats were one of at least two former AFL franchises with which negotiations were in progress, the other being the Tampa Bay Storm. However, when AF1 announced its schedule in January of 2010, the SaberCats were not among the 15 teams listed. At the time, it was unclear whether they would join another league, or join the new AFL later.

They would be replaced by the smaller and lesser-known San Jose Wolves of the AIFA as they contemplate their future. The Wolves do not play at HP Pavilion as the SaberCats have, rather at the Cow Palace in Daly City.

On June 16, it was officially announced that the SaberCats would be returning in 2011 as a member of the Arena Football League. The ownership will once again consist of major executives from national electronics chain Fry's Electronics (John Fry, William Randy Fry, David Fry, and Kathryn J. Kolder), and in addition will contain former SaberCats coach Darren Arbet. [3]

On September 15, 2010, the SaberCats made it official that Darren Arbet was to be renamed head coach. [4]



Head coach Tenure Regular season
record (W-L)
Post season
record (W-L)
Most recent coaching staff Notes
Todd Shell 19951998 29-25[5] 0-3[5]
Darren Arbet 19992008
107-45[6] 15-6[6] OC: Terry Malley
DC / ST Coordinator: Jeff Jarnigan
OL Coach / Dir. Player Personnel: Dave Witthun
DB / Ass. ST Coach: Lou Patrone
Three ArenaBowl wins
as head coach (XVI, XVIII, XXI)
Also General Manager.

Notable players

AFL Hall of Famers

  • Ben Bennett


External links

Preceded by
Grand Rapids Rampage
Arena Bowl Champions
San Jose SaberCats

Succeeded by
Tampa Bay Storm
Preceded by
Tampa Bay Storm
Arena Bowl Champions
San Jose SaberCats

Succeeded by
Colorado Crush
Preceded by
Chicago Rush
Arena Bowl Champions
San Jose SaberCats

Succeeded by
Philadelphia Soul
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