Arizona Rattlers

Years of Existence: 1992-2008, 2010-2016
Venues: US Airways Center (Phoenix, AZ)
1992 –
1993 – Semifinal appearance
1994 – AFL Champions
1995 – Playoff appearance
1996 – Western Division champions, semifinal appearance
1997 – AFL Champions
1998 – American Conference champions, semifinal appearance
1999 – Western Division champions, semifinal appearance
2000 – Arena Bowl appearance
2001 – Quarterfinal appearance
2002 – Arena Bowl appearance
2003 – Arena Bowl appearance
2004 – Western Division champions, Arena Bowl appearance
2005 –
2006 - Quarterfinal appearance
2007 -
2008 - Playoff appearance
2010 - Playoff appearance
2011 - National Conference champions, Arena Bowl appearance
2012 - AFL Champions
2013 - AFL Champions
2014 - AFL Champions
2015 - Pacific Division champions, semifinal appearance
2016 - Arena Bowl appearance
Lifetime Record: 279-134
Home: 159-57
Away: 117-77
Neutral: 3-0
Playoffs: 35-16
Average Attendance: 12,263

The Arizona Rattlers, from the very beginning, showed they would be a successful, long-running franchise in the AFL. Despite their 4-6 record in 1992, they sold out all five home games and the team won four of them. In 1993, the team, once again, sold out all of their home games, including a first round playoff game. After a 7-5 regular season, (the team won four games on the road) the Rattlers defeated the Charlotte Rage by a touchdown and earned the right to play at Detroit in the semifinals. However, the Drive was, at the time, probably the hottest team in the AFL. The Rattlers lost a heart breaker, 38-34. In 1994, the Rattlers only sold out two of their games. However, their lowest regular season attendance was just over 13,000 and their lowest postseason figure was just over 12,000, just to put things into perspective. The team started 6-1 and finished at 8-4. The Rattlers’ first playoff opponent was the Charlotte Rage, whom they dispatched 52-24. Then it was off to Albany for a 40-33 victory. In their first-ever Arena Bowl appearance, the Rattlers won at Orlando, 36-31 to become league champions. Four sellouts (three of them losses) marked the 1996 season. However, a promising 5-2 start turned into a 7-5 finish. In the playoffs, the Rattlers failed to avenge a 62-54 loss to Iowa, this time losing 56-52. 1996 brought five more sell outs and an 11-3 regular season finish. The team won 7 of their games by 8 points or less. All three losses were on the road. The Rattlers beat the Orlando Predators in their first playoff game, but wound up losing at Tampa Bay, 55-54 to end their Championship hopes. 1997 would bring another Championship to Arizona. The Rattlers cruised to a 14-2 regular season mark (only two of their wins were by 8 points or less) and would host throughout the playoffs. The first postseason match was against Milwaukee, a 46-29 victory. Next, the Rattlers avenged a regular season loss to Tampa Bay by winning 49-46 in overtime. The Arena Bowl was held in front of a team record, 17,436 fans. Arizona beat the Iowa Barnstormers, 55-33 for their second Championship. The following season was a return to the usual. A 6-1 start turned into a 10-4 finish and the Rattlers beat Houston 50-34 in their first-round playoff game. They lost to the Orlando Predators, 38-33 the following week. 1999 was almost identical to the previous year, except this time, the team went on an eight-game winning streak towards the end of the regular season. After dispatching Nashville, 34-30, the Rattlers would suffer their second loss to the Albany Firebirds to end their playoff run. The 2000 season was another year of “almost.” The team ended the regular season with a six-game winning streak and a 12-2 record. The Rattlers hosted Buffalo in the first round and won 41-34. It was time for another trip to Albany. This time, the Rattlers came out on top, 53-50. Next, it was another trip to Orlando. Orlando would defeat the Rattlers in the Arena Bowl, 56-44. By 2001, the Rattlers’ were becoming a broken record as far as their season. A 6-2 start turned into an 8-6 finish and a playoff berth. The Rattlers beat the Drive in their first-round game, 52-44. The Rattlers lost the following week at San Jose, 68-49. In 2002, the Rattlers cruised to another great regular season, this time going 11-3. The games of this year would be a lot more challenging for the Rattlers; two of their wins came in overtime. The team’s playoff wins came against Carolina and Chicago. The team traveled to San Jose for the Arena Bowl game. San Jose had only one loss on the year, a seven point defeat at the hands of the Rattlers. The Rattlers opened their season with a 52-51 loss to San Jose and their season would end with another loss to the Sabrecats, 52-14. In 2003, a 10-6 regular season record only earned the Rattlers third place in the Western Division. The Rattlers won back-to-back overtime games at Los Angeles (82-76) and at Grand Rapids (82-81). The Rattlers qualified for the postseason as a wildcard, so their road to the Arena Bowl was longer than ever before. They defeated Las Vegas, (69-26) Los Angeles, (70-63) and San Jose (66-49) to advance to the Arena Bowl for the third time in four years. But, just like before, the Rattlers would lose. This time it was a 43-29 victory by the Tampa Bay Storm. 2004 was much of the same. Arizona won their last eight straight in the regular season and finished at 11-5. They defeated Los Angeles and Colorado en route to another Arena Bowl appearance. They lost, 69-62, to San Jose. In 2005, a seven-game losing streak after a week 1 victory prevented the Rattlers from returning to the postseason for a thirteenth consecutive year. The 2006 season did not start out promising, either. The Rattlers went 1-4, their only win coming at home against the expansion Utah Blaze. However, the veteran arm of Sherdrick Bonner lead the team to four straight wins and an 8-8 regular season, which was good enough to make the playoffs in a watered down Western Division. The team easily defeated the Blaze in the openning round of the playoffs, but then lost to San Jose for the third time in the season. The 2007 season brought a 4-12 record, with wins against Utah, Las Vegas, and Austin. The Rattlers lost eight games by ten points or less, including a 62-61 overtime loss at Kansas City. The Rattlers of 2008 promised season ticket holders their money back if the team did not make the postseason. Fortunately for the Rattlers, Jeff Smoker, Matt Sauk, and Lang Campbell were able to lead the team to an 8-8 record and a home playoff berth. A four game winning streak towards the end of the season helped the team along; three of the games were road victories over Dallas, Orlando, and Kansas City. The playoff game was against Grand Rapids, in which a goal-line stand in the final seconds prevented the Rattlers from forcing overtime. The Rampage upset the Rattlers 48-41. The Rattlers returned in 2010 behind the arm of Nick Davilla, who threw for 102 scores and 18 interceptions. Leading wide receiver Rod Windsor caught 47 touchdowns and ran for seven, while former Manchester Wolves player JJ McKelvey was good for 39 more. On the field, the Rattlers had several close games, with nine being decided by seven points or less and five decided by just one point. The Rattler won at home against Tulsa, 77-76 and in overtime against Milwaukee, 68-67. The team dropped one point games on the road at Tampa Bay and Spokane. Arizona finished at 10-6 and qualified for the playoffs. Spokane hosted the Rattlers and defeated them 57-49. Arizona almost mounted a 17 point comeback and had the ball last, but was unable to convert a touchdown on the final drive. The Rattlers of 2011 were quite a special team. Nick Davilla again led the Rattlers, passing for 4,916 yards, 117 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in the regular season, to go with 19 touchdowns and four picks in the postseason. Arizona produced three 1,000 yard receivers in Rob Windsor, Trandon Harvey, and Jason Geathers. All scored at least 28 times. Windsor left the team for the NFL when the NFL lockout ended, so he was unavailable for the Rattler postseason. Virgil Gray was a defensive and special teams force, picking ten passes and returning five kickoffs for scores. The defense only allowed 16 sacks on the year and picked 35 passes. The two blemishes on Arizona's regular season record both came by a single point to Spokane and Chicago. Six wins came in the final minute and the Rattlers went 5-2 against teams that would make the playoffs. Arizona was the top seed in the postseason and opened at home against Spokane. This time, the defense picked off Kyle Rowley four times and routed the Shock 62-33. Arizona took a 41-19 lead into the fourth quarter, benefiting from five Rush turnovers. Chicago rallied for 29 in the fourth quarter, but Arizona held on to a 54-48 victory and would host Arena Bowl XXIV. It was a rematch of a week one meeting that Arizona won 55-52. The two best quarterbacks squared off in another epic battle. Jacksonville missed on three PATs and a two point conversion. Both quarterbacks threw for eight touchdowns. Arizona held a 49-38 fourth quarter lead and it appeared the game was in their hands, as Aaron Garcia threw seven consecutive incomplete passes. However, a Michaeux Robinson interception ignited a 15-0 Sharks run. Jacksonville faced a fourth down from the Arizona ten yard line with two seconds left. With the kicking game struggling, Garcia threw to Jeron Harvey for the title winning touchdown. Nick Davila returned for the 2012 season to quarterback the Rattlers. He threw for 5,500 yards, 113 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. His top target was Maurice Purify. Purify lit up the statsheet with 1,932 yards and 46 scores. Kerry Reed amassed 1,380 yards and 27 touchdowns of his own. The offensive line allowed just nine sacks all season long against Davila. The team went 13-5 in the regular season, with nine wins coming by 15 points or more. The Rattlers defense held opponents to just 48 points per game. Arizona was the second seed in the playoffs and would host San Jose in the first roumd. The rival Sabercats defeated them twice in the regular season, but Arizona passed them 51-48 and advanced to host Utah. After trailing by two scores most of the game, Arizona scored twice in the final minute to defeat the Blaze, 75-69. Arizona advanced to the Arena Bowl to face Philadelphia. With three early interceptions, Arizona built a 24-6 lead and never looked back en rout to a league championship, 72-54. Davila led Arizona once again in 2014, passing for 4,778 yards, 127 touchdowns and just eleven interceptions. Maurice Prufiy, Rod Windsor, and Tyson Poots accounted for 100 scores and just shy of 4,000 receiving yards. In nine games, the Rattlers scored 70 or more points and averaged 64 per game. The fourteen game win streak came to a screeching halt in San Jose, as Arizona trailed 41-7 at the half and lost 62-33. However, after losing three of their last four on the regular season, Arizona recovered for the playoffs. A narrow defeat of Portland followed by a 72-56 victory against San Jose put Arizona in the Arena Bowl for the third straight year. At 19-1 Cleveland, Nick Davila passed for eight touchdowns to just one interception, while Shane Austin was picked off four times. The halftime score was 44-13 and Arizona went on to win their third straight title 72-32. This was the largest margin of victory in Arena Bowl history. The Rattlers kept their hot streak going with a 14-4 regular season record in 2015. Nick Davila quarterbacked 14 games, passing for 3,519 yards, 87 touchdowns and ten picks. Rod Windsor caught 39 touchdowns and amassed over 1,700 yards. Kerry Reed brought in 25 touchdowns. Arizona fell both times in the regular season to rivals San Jose, but they would meet again for a chance to go to the Arena Bowl and for the Rattlers to potentially win a fourth title in a row. The teams remained deadlocked into the fourth quarter with the difference being a Reggie Gray touchdown catch with eight seconds remaining to oust the Rattlers 70-67. Nick Davila led the Rattlers into their 2016 season, tossing 110 touchdowns and racking up 4,198 yards. Rod Windsor caught 48 scores on 145 catches and 1,667 yards. Maurice Purify racked up 1,017 yards and 30 scores. Eight of nineteen interceptions made by the Rattlers defense were taken back for scores--two each by Arkeith Brown and Kerry Reed. An offense that scored 67 points per game and a defense that allowed just 48 led to a 13-3 regular season record and division title. Arizona cruised past Portland and Cleveland and met Philaelphia in the Arena Bowl. The Soul finally tamed the Rattlers, taking a 28-7 lead after the first quarter and hanging on for a 56-42 victory. Arizona left the league during the offseason and joined the IFL.