Arena Bowl XXII: Philly's Got Soul and the Streak Is Over!
The Phillies couldn't do it last September. The Flyers couldn't do it this summer. The Sixers couldn't quite get it done this postseason. But thanks to Jon Bon Jovi and Ron "Jaws" Jaworski, the City of Brotherly Love can finally sing "We Are the Champions!"
Just like the Colorado Crush, the Philadelphia Soul defied the odds of being a young team and defeated the heavy arsenal of the San Jose Sabercats.
Led by Matt D'Orazio's 302 yards and eight touchdowns (seven passing and one rushing) on 26 of 43 attempts, the Soul shocked the Arena Football world with a 59-56 victory over San Jose to give the city of Philadelphia their first World Championship in over two decades.
D'Orazio gained MVP honors for his performance while his partner in crime Chris Jackson snagged 11 catches for a game high 146 yards and three touchdowns to gain Offensive Player of the Game honors.
It wasn't an easy road for the Soul yesterday as the Sabercats showed the tenacity that got them there. In the final stretch of the fourth quarter, the 'Cats scored 14 points in an 11 second time span to move within three with 15 seconds on the clock. With an onside kick imminent, it was Rod Davis who provided the last second heroics by recovering the loose ball and sealing the deal and the celebration for the Soul.
This was arguably the biggest win in the city's history mainly because it will be the first world championship they've seen since 1983. The team itself answered the pre-season challenge of owners Jaws and Jovi. With prime time quarterback Tony Graziani on the shelf, D'Orazio stepped up in a major way and made it clear that he wouldn't let his new bosses down.
But D'Orazio is no stranger to the pressure of performing in the Arena Bowl. He earned his first MVP honors two years ago when he led the Chicago Rush to an Arena Bowl Championship. Now the Soul can add their name to the elite teams of the league who made it to the dance and won.
The Sabercats have nothing to be upset about. They did have a slow start at the beginning of the season, but they managed to step up at the right time. On Sunday, gunslinger Mark Grieb finished with 299 yards and eight touchdowns on 27 of 44 attempts.
Outstanding wideout Rodney Wright set a new Arena Bowl record with 13 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns while his partner in crime Jason Geathers added eight catches for 101 yards and five touchdowns in a losing effort.
A few weeks ago, co-owner Bon Jovi said that if the Soul won the Arena Bowl Championship, he would create the best looking championship ring ever. Come next season, Jon, I expect to be dazzled and amazed, but until then, congratulations on bringing Philadelphia the respect it so rightfully deserved.
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