ArenaBowl XXIV

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ArenaBowl XXIV
ABXXIV.jpg
1 2 3 4 Total
JAX 12 20 6 35 73
ARI 14 21 7 28 70
Date August 12, 2011
Arena US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Attendance 14,320
MVP Aaron Garcia, Jacksonville
Offensive Player of the Game Chris Jackson, Arizona
Defensive Player of the Game Micheaux Robinson, Jacksonville
Ironman of the Game Jason Holman, Jacksonville
Winning Coach Les Moss, Jacksonville
Losing Coach Kevin Guy, Arizona
U.S. TV
Network NFL Network
Announcers Paul Burmeister, Kurt Warner, Anthony Herron, Ari Wolfe
 < XXIII ArenaBowl XXV > 

ArenaBowl XXIV was the 24th edition of the championship in the Arena Football League. The American Conference champion, Jacksonville Sharks, defeated the National Conference champion, Arizona Rattlers, 73–70. It was played on August 12, 2011. The game was hosted at the site of the highest remaining seed throughout the playoffs, which was US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the Rattlers.

Site[edit]

The ArenaBowl was scheduled to be played at the site of the highest seed who reaches the championship. Arizona finished with the best record during the regular season. In an interview with AFL Insider on May 9,[1] AFL Commissioner Jerry Kurz said playing ArenaBowl XXV in 2012 at a neutral site is a strong option. The ArenaBowl was played at the highest seed in the game since the AFL's inception in 1987 until 2004. From 2005 to 2008, it was at a neutral site, Las Vegas and New Orleans. In 2010, the ArenaBowl returned to the highest remaining seed setting, as ArenaBowl XXIII was played at the Spokane Arena, home of the Spokane Shock, who won the game.

Television[edit]

ArenaBowl XXIV was televised on NFL Network. The game was the highest watched Arena Football League game on the NFL Network, earning a 0.37 rating. That was up 200 percent from ArenaBowl XXIII on NFL Network. The previous record was set a week before when the 2011 AFL American Conference Championship game earned a 0.32 rating between the Georgia Force and Jacksonville Sharks, with the Sharks winning 64-55. [2]

Logo contest[edit]

The Arena Football League had fans design the logo for ArenaBowl XXIV in a contest. The league office picked four finalists and fans voted online.[3]

The winner was Myk Crawford, a Spokane Shock fan from Spokane, Washington, which was announced on April 11, 2011.[4]

Background[edit]

Pregame[edit]

The story heading into ArenaBowl XXIV was that of Sharks QB Aaron Garcia. At 40 years old, this would be Garcia's first appearance in an ArenaBowl. Garcia began his AFL career in 1995. He holds many of the AFL's all-time passing records and ended the 2011 season with over 50,000 passing and 1,078 career touchdown passes. But with all the stats, he had yet to even play in an AFL championship game before 2011.

2011 was arguably Garcia's best season. He finished the year with a 71.5 completion percentage, 125.24 QB rating and 116 touchdown passes, and 4,933 yards, all career highs.

The Rattlers featured second year AFL QB Nick Davila, who topped Garcia with 117 passing touchdowns during the season. He also completed over 70 percent of his passes and threw over 4,900 yards.

His go-to receiver was Rod Windsor, who had caught 156 passes for 1,830 yards during the season. Windsor was a member of the Cleveland Browns roster during the AFL regular season, but was able to play due to the 2011 NFL lockout. However, the lockout ended just days before ArenaBowl XXIV, and did not play in the title game.

Arizona Rattlers[edit]

The Rattlers finished the regular season with a league-record 16 wins, and entered the game with an 11-game winning streak, including the playoffs. This was their first ArenaBowl appearance since 2004 when they lost ArenaBowl XVIII. They advanced to the ArenaBowl after defeating the Spokane Shock in the conference semifinals, and the Chicago Rush in the conference championship.

Week Date Opponent Result
1 March 12 at Jacksonville W 55–52
2 March 19 Milwaukee W 62–31
3 March 28 at Tulsa W 69–20
4 April 2 Orlando W 48–47
5 Bye
6 April 16 at Kansas City W 63–49
7 April 23 Utah W 67–61 (OT)
8 April 30 at Spokane L 69–70
9 May 7 at San Jose W 65–43
10 May 14 Chicago L 49–50
11 May 20 at New Orleans W 61–53
12 May 28 Cleveland W 63–42
13 June 4 at Utah W 72–37
14 June 11 Iowa W 61–41
15 June 18 San Jose W 64–57
16 June 25 at Philadelphia W 55–54
17 July 2 Spokane W 68–46
18 July 10 at Pittsburgh W 68–34
19 Bye
20 July 23 at Dallas W 55–49
July 29 Spokane W 62–33
August 6 Chicago W 54–48

Jacksonville Sharks[edit]

The Sharks, in just their second year of existence, finished the regular season with a 14–4 record and had the best record in the American Conference, defeating the Orlando Predators and Georgia Force, respectively, to advance to their first ArenaBowl. For 17-year veteran quarterback Aaron Garcia, this was his first ArenaBowl.

Week Date Opponent Result
1 March 12 Arizona L 52–55
2 March 19 Georgia W 71–57
3 March 28 New Orleans W 64–33
4 April 1 at Tampa Bay W 54–30
5 Bye
6 April 16 at Pittsburgh W 65–40
7 April 23 Cleveland W 56–42
8 April 30 Orlando W 76–55
9 May 6 at Philadelphia W 58–42
10 May 13 Iowa W 79–27
11 May 21 at Georgia W 62–55
12 Bye
13 June 3 at New Orleans W 62–55
14 June 11 at Orlando W 68–67
15 June 18 Milwaukee W 62–47
16 June 25 Tampa Bay W 66–41
17 July 2 at San Jose L 70–83
18 July 9 Dallas L 70–75
19 July 15 at Kansas City L 48–49 (OT)
20 July 22 Spokane W 75–56
July 29 Orlando W 63–48
August 8 Georgia W 64–55

Game Summary[edit]

ArenaBowl XXIV went down as one of the best ArenaBowls in AFL history with Jacksonville Sharks quarterback Aaron Garcia throwing the game winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeron Harvey on the final play of the game.

The Arizona Rattlers drew first blood in ArenaBowl XXIV with a two-yard run by Odie Armstrong giving the Rattlers a 7-0 lead. The teams traded touchdowns throughout the first quarter, but two missed PATs by Jacksonville gave the Rattlers a 14-12 lead. However, the Sharks got a stop and scored in between the first two quarters and took their first lead to open the second quarter, 19-14.

After both teams scored two touchdowns each in the first quarter, the teams each scored three of their own in the second quarter. However, the Rattlers scored two touchdowns in the final 55 seconds of the half, and Jacksonville kicker Marco Capozzoli missed his third PAT of the game.

The Sharks led 32-21 with less than three minutes before half, but Arizona came back to take a 35-32 lead midway through the game.

In the third quarter, both teams each scored a touchdown, but after Capozzoli's fourth and final missed PAT, the Rattlers led 42-38. The fourth quarter of ArenaBowl XXIV saw nine touchdowns and seven lead changes, with five touchdowns coming in the last 1:30.

The Rattlers led 56-53 before Garcia hit Harvey to give the Sharks a 60-56 lead with 1:26. The Rattlers retook the lead after a five-yard TD pass from QB Nick Davila to WR Chris Jackson at the 52 second mark. Twelve seconds later, Garcia hit Jomo Wilson and the Sharks led 67-63.

It appeared Arizona would score the game winning touchdowns after Davila hit Kerry Reed with a 12-yard pass with 21 seconds left in the game, until Garcia threw the game winning pass to give Jacksonville its first ArenaBowl title (in its second season in the AFL) with a 10-yard TD pass to Jeron Harvey with no time on the clock.

Box score[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Sharks (AC) 12 20 6 35 73
Rattlers (NC) 14 21 7 28 70

at US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona

  • Date: August 12, 2011
  • Game time: 8:30 p.m. EDT
  • Game attendance: 14,320
  • Referee: Shawn Hochuli

References[edit]