Play in Phoenix Suns Arena
in Phoenix, Arizona
|Arena Football League (1992–2016)
|Team colors||Black, copper, teal, white|
|Mascot||Fang and Stryker|
|General manager||Kevin Guy|
|Head coach||Kevin Guy|
|League championships (6)|
|Conference championships (6)|
|Division championships (10)|
|Playoff appearances (24)|
The Arizona Rattlers are a professional indoor American football team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They are currently members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Rattlers were founded in 1992 as an expansion team in the Arena Football League and were the third oldest active franchise in the AFL until their departure in 2016. They play their home games at Phoenix Suns Arena in downtown Phoenix, but have occasionally played at Gila River Arena in neighboring Glendale when their primary home has been unavailable. The Rattlers are led by head coach Kevin Guy. Since the team's establishment in 1992, the Rattlers have won ten division titles and have played in nine ArenaBowl Championship games, winning championships in 1994, 1997, 2012, 2013, 2014. The Rattlers also won the 2017 United Bowl in their first season in the IFL.
Founding and White era (1991–2004)
On September 11, 1991, it was announced that Jerry Colangelo had been awarded an expansion franchise in the AFL in Phoenix. Colangelo, owner of the NBA's Phoenix Suns, first approached Frank Kush to coach his team, but Kush declined the invitation. In October 1991, the team announced that former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White would be the franchise's first head coach. In December 1991, the team announced that they would be named the Arizona Rattlers after more than 250 people suggested that the team's nickname should be the Rattlers, while 55% of their responders picked "Arizona" over "Phoenix".
In 1992, the Rattlers began with their first two games on the road, and won their home debut in front of a sell-out crowd of 15,505 at America West Arena by a score of 56–31 over the Sacramento Attack.
Kevin Guy coaching era (2008–present)
In 2008, it was announced that Brett Bouchy would become the new owner of the Arizona Rattlers. After the Rattlers had a 4–12 record in 2007, Brett Bouchy hired Kevin Guy as the new Arizona Rattlers head coach in the 2008 season and the Rattlers improved to an 8–8 record and clinched playoff berth for the first time since 2006, but lost in the first round. In August 2009, numerous media outlets began reporting that the AFL was folding permanently and would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The league released a statement on August 4 to the effect that while the league was not folding, it was suspending league operations indefinitely. Despite this, several of the league's creditors filed papers to force a Chapter 7 liquidation if the league did not do so voluntarily. This request was granted on August 7, though converted to a Chapter 11 reorganization on August 26. However Brett Bouchy and a group of investors planned to launch a new league called Arena Football 1 and helped the Arizona Rattlers and the Orlando Predators to become two of the four teams to survive and return in 2010 with Arena Football 1. In early 2010, it was announced that Arena Football 1 was granted the trademarks to the AFL brand and was renamed the Arena Football League. In 2011, after Brett Bouchy was able keep both the Arizona Rattlers and the Orlando Predators alive, he was forced to let go of ownership to one of the teams and that became the Arizona Rattlers.
On May 12, 2011, Ron Shurts became the new majority owner of the Rattlers franchise.
In 2011, the Rattlers won 16 games in the regular season, a league-record for wins in a single regular season. In the playoffs, by winning the National Conference championship, they clinched a berth in ArenaBowl XXIV. They lost the game to the Jacksonville Sharks when Jacksonville quarterback Aaron Garcia threw a game-winning touchdown pass on the game's final play. The Rattlers redeemed themselves the following season, winning ArenaBowl XXV over the Philadelphia Soul to win their first title in 15 years.
In 2013, the Rattlers and Soul met again in ArenaBowl XXVI, with the Rattlers winning yet again, 48–39. This made them the first team since 1995 to win back-to-back championships, and the first team in history to beat the same team for both titles.
In 2014, the Rattlers went 15–3 in the regular season after a 14-game winning streak to start the season, and defeated the Cleveland Gladiators in ArenaBowl XXVII by a score of 72–32, becoming the first team in AFL history to win three consecutive AFL championships since the Detroit Drive of 1988–1990, as well as establishing the largest margin of victory (40 points) in an ArenaBowl.
In 2015, the Rattlers went 14–4 in the regular season and made it to the Conference Championships but lost to the San Jose Sabercats 70–67, a team which had twice beaten them in the regular season. This ended their streak of consecutive ArenaBowl appearances at four.
In 2016, the Rattlers went 13–3 in the regular season, then blew out the Portland Steel and the Cleveland Gladiators en route to their fifth ArenaBowl appearance in six years, only to lose to the Philadelphia Soul.
Move from the AFL to the IFL
On October 17, 2016, the Rattlers announced they had left the AFL and joined the Indoor Football League for the 2017 season. Owner Ron Shurts said that it was possible that the AFL would have to go on hiatus in 2017, and wasn't sure the fans would return in 2018 if that happened. The move made Phoenix by far the largest market in the IFL. They made their IFL debut on February 17, 2017, at the defending six-time IFL Champions Sioux Falls Storm, but lost 40–29. On June 24, 2017, the Rattlers faced the Nebraska Danger in the Intense Conference Championship and won 62–36. They defeated the reigning champion Sioux Falls Storm 50–41 in the 2017 United Bowl on July 8, 2017.
On April 29, 2018, the Rattlers defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans 84–83 and earned their 300th win in franchise history. The Rattlers went on to qualify for the 2018 United Bowl, but lost to the Iowa Barnstormers.
In 2019, the Rattlers went undefeated through the regular season with a 14–0 record. At the end of the season, their playoff games were moved to Gila River Arena after the Talking Stick Resort Arena closed for renovations. The Rattlers lost to the Sioux Falls Storm 56–53, with coach Guy heavily blaming officiating. With Talking Stick Resort Arena planned to be closed through the 2020 season and possibly into the 2021 season, the Rattlers agreed to a lease at Gila River Arena in the interim. After their 2020 season was cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2021 season was pushed back, the Rattlers announced they would be returning to downtown Phoenix for their 2021 season home games at Phoenix Suns Arena, formerly known as Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Retired uniform numbers
|Arizona Rattlers retired numbers|
|13||Sherdrick Bonner||QB||1993–2007||June 16, 2010|||
|14||Hunkie Cooper||WR/LB||1993–2005||May 6, 2005|||
|17||Randy Gatewood||WR/DB||1996–2007||May 9, 2008|||
Arena Football League Hall of Famers
|Arizona Rattlers Hall of Famers|
|No.||Name||Year Inducted||Position(s)||Years w/ Rattlers|
|--||Gene Nudo||2011||Executive/Head Coach||1993–2007|
|--||Danny White||2002||Head Coach||1994–2002|
The following Rattlers players have been named to All-Arena Teams:
- QB Sherdrick Bonner (5), Nick Davila (5)
- FB Odie Armstrong (2), Mykel Benson (1)
- FB/LB Bob McMillen (2)
- WR Rod Windsor (6), Maurice Purify (1)
- WR/DB Cedric Tillman (1), Randy Gatewood (6)
- WR/LB Hunkie Cooper (4)
- OL Kyle Young (2), Brennen Carvalho (1), Michael Huey (3), Billy Eisenhardt (1), Jordan Mudge (1)
- DL Anttaj Hawthorne (2), Clifford Dukes (1), Mike McAdoo (1), Damien Borel (1), Dimetrio Tyson (1)
- OL/DL Doc Wise (1), Bryan Henderson (1)
- LB Tyre Glasper (3)
- DB Virgil Gray (2), Arkeith Brown (2), Marquis Floyd (1), Jeremy Kellem (1)
- K Fabrizio Scaccia (1), Garrett Lindholm (1)
- OS Hunkie Cooper (2), Calvin Schexnayder (2), Chris Horn (1)
- DS Cecil Doggette (1)
- KR Virgil Gray (1)
The following Rattlers players have been named to All-IFL Teams:
- RB Darrell Monroe (1)
- WR Jerrod Harrington (1)
- OL Lamar Mady (2), Damian Love (1), Steven Gurrola (1)
- DL Chris McAllister (1), Nikolaus D'Avanzo (1), Lance McDowell (1)
- DB Allen Chapman (2), Davontae Merriweather (1), Dillon Winfrey (1)
- K Sawyer Petre (1), Jimmy Camacho (1)
The following Rattlers players have been named to All-Ironman Teams:
The following Rattlers players have been named to All-Rookie Teams:
Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2019 Indoor Football League season.
|Danny White||1992–2004||121||55||.688||20||10||1993 Coach of the Year|
|Kevin Guy||2008–present||141||41||.775||17||7||2011, 2016 Coach of the Year|
"I have been an Arizona Rattlers season ticket holder since day one and attended the first Arizona Rattlers game at America West Arena. I believe in the team and the Arena Football League," said Shurts. "I want to bring the passion and excitement for Rattlers football back to US Airways Center and the Valley."
"Downtown Phoenix continues to grow and the Rattlers will be an integral part of the affordable, family-fun entertainment that the Suns and the Mercury are providing the local community," Shurts added.
The Very first broadcaster of the Rattlers was KUTP UPN-45. They would televise home & away games, whichever games were not picked up by ESPN, to include playoff games.
KASW-TV WB6 WB61 took over broadcasting the Rattlers.
Starting in the 2004 season, the Arizona Rattlers partnered with FOX Sports Arizona (now Bally Sports Arizona). That first season, they televised 4 games. When the 2005 season came, the Arena Football League announced a partnership with FOX Sports Regional Networks to televise games regionally. In addition, the Arizona Rattlers announced they would also produce games with FOX Sports Arizona separate from the League contract.
After the cancellation of the 2009 season and return of the Arena Football League. The Arizona Rattlers announced a new broadcast deal with KAZT-TV AZTV 7 to broadcast up to eight games of the 2010 season. The partnership ended after one season after KAZT would not renew their broadcast partnership with the Rattlers in the 2011 season.
After major changes of ownership throughout the 2011 season the Arizona Rattlers announced a new broadcast deal in mid season to return to FOX Sports Arizona with some games carried on FOX Sports Arizona Plus.
As the 2012 season approached the Arizona Rattlers would again announced that they would be moving their broadcasts to a new home this time to Cox7 Arizona with longtime Arizona sports caster Kevin Ray and Dale Hellestrae calling the game in the booth with Chris Harris on the sidelines and Lindsay Smith on Social Media. Cox7 was known as the Rattlers best broadcaster by televising all nine of their home games including selected away games that were simulcasted to other teams broadcasts. Cox7 also did Pregame Shows with the Rattlers before every home game showing documentaries and Talking LIVE before the game. The Partnership became a major success for Cox7 the Arizona Rattlers later extended their contract with Cox7 through the 2014 season when the announcement was made in November 2012.
After the major success with Cox7 Arizona, the Rattlers would not renew with the station after their contract expired in the 2014 season and announced they would move their broadcasts back to FOX Sports Arizona, broadcasting up to only 3 home games and one playoff game on FOX Sports Arizona Plus. However, the Rattlers still carried over the same broadcast team from Cox7 Arizona with Kevin Ray, Dale Hellestrae and Chris Harris calling the game. The Rattlers were also seen on National broadcasts on ESPN2 and CBS Sports Network until 2016 when they left the AFL.
All Indoor Football League games are streamed live on YouTube. Their games were also still aired on FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports Arizona Plus.
In 2019, Arizona Rattlers aired all home games on The CW Phoenix for the 2019 season. The 2019 United Bowl, which was being hosted by the Arizona Rattlers, was televised by FOX Sports Arizona Plus. All Arizona Rattlers games were also streamed on YouTube.
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- "Arena expansion planned". The Daily Gazette. October 2, 1991. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- "Kush says no to new Phoenix team". The News. September 13, 1991. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- "Ex-Cowboy White new Arena coach". Spokane Chronicle. October 11, 1991. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- "Arena football team settles on 'Rattlers'". The Prescott Courier. December 8, 1991. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- Mel Relsner (June 17, 1992). "51-36? Doesn't seem like 'real' football". Kingman Daily Miner. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- Tim Hipps (September 3, 1994). "Rattlers bite Predators at ArenaBowl". The News-Journal. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- "Danny White interested in purchasing Arizona Rattlers". The Daily Courier. December 17, 1999. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- Williams, Cory. "Arena Football: Arizona Rattlers Find New Majority Owner, Ron Shurts". SB Nation Arizona. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
- "Game Statistics". www.arenafootball.com. Arena Football League. August 10, 2012. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
- "Arizona Rattlers Repeat as ArenaBowl Champions". www.arenafootball.com. Arena Football League. August 17, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
- Joe Williams (August 17, 2013). "ArenaBowl XXVI: Rattlers win 2nd Arena Football League title in row". www.orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-17. Retrieved 2014-08-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "IFL Announces Addition of Arizona Rattlers". IFL. October 17, 2016.
- Richard Obert (October 17, 2016). "Rattlers leaving Arena Football League for Indoor Football League". The Arizona Republic.
- "Rattlers fall just short in championship game". Glendale Star. July 19, 2019.
- "Arizona Rattlers will play at Gila River Arena in 2020, possibly 2021". AZCentral.com. July 29, 2019.
- "RATTLERS ANNOUNCE RETURN TO DOWNTOWN PHOENIX, SCHEDULE UPDATE FOR 2021 SEASON". Arizona Rattlers. February 17, 2021.
- "Arizona Rattlers To Retire Shedrick Bonner's Jersey". www.boxscorenews.com. Stryker-Indigo. June 12, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- Darren Urban (May 6, 2005). "Rattlers to honor former star at halftime ceremony". www.eastvalleytribune.com. East Valley Tribune. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- "Rattlers To Retire Randy Gatewood's Number 17". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. April 29, 2008. Retrieved August 19, 2013.