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COLUMN: Arena Bowl Rematch As Cleveland Hosts Arizona

Perhaps the biggest Arena Football League game in a long time will take place this weekend in Cleveland Ohio. The Cleveland Gladiators(2-0) will look to avenge their humiliating loss in Arena Bowl XXVII as they host the 3 time defending champion Arizona Rattlers(1-1) on Saturday night at the Quicken Loans Arena. This might be billed as the biggest game of the season so far, and the stakes could not be higher for this rematch.

The 3x defending champs are coming off an embarrassing 70-53 loss to the league’s newest expansion team –  Las Vegas Outlaws in week 2, while the Gladiators are fresh off a 70-42 win over the New Orleans Voodoo.

With the undefeated start, Cleveland appears to have come back as the stronger team from the Arena Bowl last year, but history is not on their side. Below is a list of Arena Bowl matches since 2010(meaning the first time they have met since the AB or if the rematch is in the AB):

  • Tampa Bay 51 Spokane 42
  • Arizona 58 Jacksonville 48
  • Arizona 66 Philadelphia 52
  • Arizona 48 Philadelphia 39
  • Arizona 62 Philadelphia 55

Interesting about this rematch is that since losing Arena Bowl XXVII, the Rattlers have played 7 Arena Bowl rematches against Jacksonville or Philadelphia(the two previous teams AZ has faced in the big game) and have won all 7 – including Arena Bowl XXVI against the Philadelphia Soul. While Cleveland may have a better team in 2015, the Rattlers thrive in these kind of games.

By now everyone knows about the story of the Cleveland Gladiators. They came out of nowhere to finish an AFL record best 17-1. More impressively, they won 6 games on the final play of the game. It looked like the Cleveland Sports Curse would finally come to an end, but the Rattlers spoiled the fun –  winning 72-32, the largest margin of victory in Arena Bowl history.

Now both teams come in with a different mood and mindset. Arizona and Cleveland certainly have something to prove as they meet in this Arena Bowl rematch. Kickoff is 7 ET on ESPN3.com and on My43TV in Cleveland.

 

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