Tampa Bay Storm – Dallas Cowboys
The Storm are tied for the most ArenaBowl titles. The Cowboys are tied for second with five Super Bowl titles. In 2015, Dallas went 4-12 without a legit starting quarterback. The Storm, also without a legit starting quarterback, finished the 2016 season with a 2-14 record. Both still have a great team despite the sub-500 records in their past seasons
Jacksonville Sharks – Jacksonville Jaguars
Football teams in Jacksonville have had a surprisingly similar history. When the Jaguars entered the NFL in 1995, they had a typical rocky inaugural season (4-12), but made the playoffs four straight years, including winning consecutive division titles. The early 2000s brought a lull, but the Jaguars recovered to make the playoffs twice more in three seasons before entering their decade of futility.
While their Arena Football League counterparts, the Sharks, have only existed for seven years, the history is almost a perfect mirror image. Both teams started on fire with legendary coaches, had immediate regular season and playoff success (including the Sharks winning ArenaBowl XXIV), then went through the bottom falling out.
The Jaguars took time to rebound under coach Jack Del Rio, and it’s to be determined if the same thing will happen to the indoor team after their second losing season in three years (although 2016 did end in a conference championship game berth) under a new coach of their own.
While time will tell if either team will bring another title to the Bold City, but if history shows anything, at least one team will always be in the league conversation at the end of the year.
Philadelphia Soul – New England Patriots
The Soul, like the Patriots, have shown that they could struggle in games and even lose some, but at the end, they are still the champions. The Patriots have four Super Bowl titles, the most recent one coming in 2015. The Soul won ArenaBowl XXIX back on Aug. 26, their second title in franchise history.
Los Angeles KISS – Kansas City Chiefs
The Los Angeles KISS of the AFL and the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL are both similar in many ways. Both teams have game manager type quarterbacks. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is not a flashy quarterback with a big arm, but he’ll make a play when needed.
KISS quarterback Nathan Stanley‘s statistics don’t compare to what a game manager’s would look like, but if he were in the NFL, he’d likely be considered a game manager. Another similarity between the two is their defenses.
Both of these teams have stout defenses that are among the best in all of their respective leagues.
Finally, both of the teams head coaches both have loads of experience. Andy Reid of the Chiefs has been a head coach for over a decade, and Omarr Smith of the KISS is an AFL Hall of Famer.
Portland Steel – Cleveland Browns
The AFL’s Portland Steel and the NFL’s Cleveland Browns compare favorably when examining their franchises over the last three seasons. In Portland’s three years in existence, 2014-15 as the Thunder and 2016 as the Steel, they have a regular season record of 13-39 (.250 winning percentage). The Cleveland Browns are 14-34 (.291 winning percentage) over that same three-year span.
Portland has employed an array of veteran, pocket passers in Kyle Rowley, Danny Southwick and Shane Austin, along with a confusing saga with the athletically-talented though inconsistent Darron Thomas.
Cleveland has also employed an array of veteran, pocket passers in Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, and Josh McCown, while having their own adventure with the athletically-talented though inconsistent and combustible Johnny Manziel. Additionally, both teams consistently find themselves in the bottom half of the league, if not near the bottom in general, in both offense and defense.
Cleveland Gladiators – Kansas City Chiefs
This seasons Cleveland Gladiators’ feel like the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. A strong defense with an offense that has some athletic players, but that side of the ball never seems to click enough to scare. Chiefs’ running back Jamaal Charles‘ talent compares to the running skills and the hands of Gladiators wide receiver Collin Taylor.
The pure speed and ability to make quick cuts would best resemble Arvell Nelson. If either one of those guys got hurt for Cleveland, it would take a lot of effort to make up for it and then some.
Joe Powell is very similar to Eric Berry. Both always seem to be able to make great breaks on the ball, along with a bunch of talented but no name name unit around them.
Orlando Predators – Cincinnati Bengals
The 2016 season for the Orlando Predators was very similar to the Cincinnati Bengals 2015 campaign. The common theme being great starts to the season, but failing to carry the momentum into the postseason.
The Bengals started off a franchise best 8-0 before losing in week 10 with a loss to the Houston Texans. Cincinnati clinched a playoff spot for the fifth consecutive season, and won the AFC North division for the second time in three seasons.
However, down the stretch of the season the team lost starting quarterback Andy Dalton and could not carry the success of the regular season into the playoffs. After going 12-4, the squad lost in the opening Wild Card playoff game to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This would be the 25th consecutive season without a playoff win for the Bengals, and the first NFL team to lose five consecutive playoff games in the first round.
Finishing 12-4, the Predators failed to advance deep into the Arena Football League playoffs for the second consecutive year, despite a successful regular season.
Orlando started the season hot, going 7-0, the best start for the franchise since 2000. However, Orlando went 0-2 against American Conference rival Philadelphia Soul, and could not could not close out the season strong. The Predators lost to the 7-9 Jacksonville Sharks in the first round of the AFL playoffs for the second year in a row.
The Predators starting quarterback Randy Hippeard suffered a torn ACL in the final games of the season. Backup Bernard Morris was forced to step in to lead the team but could not earn a playoff victory.
Despite a great regular season, the Predators could not carry the momentum of the regular season into the playoffs. The result was another early exit for Orlando.
The two franchises share the same record, starting quarterback injuries and disappointing first round playoff loses.