ArenaBowl XVI

ArenaBowl XVI

ArenaBowl Less

ArenaBowl XVI

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ArenaBowl XVI 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.

Game summary

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...
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