was played between the San Jose SaberCats
and Arizona Rattlers
in San Jose, California
on August 18, 2002. A game with considerable expectations given the teams' intense rivalry and respective success that year, the SaberCats
surprised everyone by posting the most dominant victory in ArenaBowl
history, holding the Rattlers
scoreless until the final period, and winning the game by the lopsided score of 52-14 to earn their first Arena Football League
title in franchise history. With the SaberCats' victory, Darren Arbet
also became the first African-American head coach
in pro-football to win a championship in North America.
For much of the 2002
season, the San Jose SaberCats were entertaining the possibility of an undefeated year. They defeated their Western Division rivals, the Arizona Rattlers, 52-51 in the season opener, and continued their success en route to a 12-0 start. However, their rematch with the Rattlers in Phoenix
on July 12 cost them not only their undefeated record, but also starting quarterback Mark Grieb
, who suffered a season-ending broken collarbone in the SaberCats' 59-52 loss. Though it would prove to be San Jose
's only loss of the season, it set the stage for what figured to be an extremely competitive ArenaBowl championship game.
That was not the case, however, as coach Arbet's San Jose squad took a 24-point lead by halftime, and extended it to 45-0 early in the fourth quarter before Arizona finally scored on a... Read More